Thyroid Cancer: An Overview

While thyroid cancer is one of the least common forms of cancer and also one of the most treatable, it still impacts thousands of people each year. As the American Thyroid Association explained, even patients with the most advanced forms of the disease have options for effective treatments and a relatively good prognosis.

The Thyroid
Though it doesn’t always garner much attention, the thyroid gland plays a very important role in the body. As the ATA explained, the thyroid is responsible for making hormones that are distributed to each of the organs in the body. The thyroid hormone itself is vital to the function of key organs like the heart and the brain. It also helps to keep the body warm and use its energy effectively. 

Risk Factors and Symptoms
As with all risk factors, there are some that can be controlled and some that can not. With thyroid cancer, family history, gender and age are common causes. Women are three times more likely than men to have thyroid cancer, the American Cancer Society explained. It most commonly occurs in women between the ages of 40 and 60 and in men between the ages of 60 and 80.

There are two big risk factors that can be monitored, however. Exposure to radiation and a diet lacking in iodine are two known risk factors that can lead to thyroid cancer – both of which are somewhat preventable. 

The majority of symptoms will occur in or around the neck and include swelling, pain

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