Thyroid cancer is a form of cancer that originates in the thyroid glands located at the base of the neck, right below Adam’s apple. Cancer begins when cells start to grow out of control. The thyroid gland produces hormones that help regulate heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, and metabolism.
Researchers have not been able to detect what causes thyroid cancer. However, it is believed that certain factors put an individual at risk of developing this form of cancer. The risk factors may include –
Sex – Women are more likely to get thyroid cancer than men
Age – Thyroid cancer is likely to be diagnosed in women during their 40s and 50s, and in men, who are in their 60s and 70s.
Overexposure to radiation – Those exposed to high levels of radiation are at greater risk of developing thyroid cancer. Examples include radiation treatment to the neck and head or fallout from sources like weapon testing and nuclear power plant hazards.
Genetic syndromes – Certain genetic syndromes, like multiple endocrine neoplasias and familial medullary thyroid cancer level up the chances of radiation.
Lack of iodine mineral – Iodine is a vital mineral, which helps to produce thyroid hormone. People with a deficiency of iodine are more prone to thyroid cancer.
Prevention of Thyroid Cancer
Here are some preventive measures that may eliminate or at least help manage the risk of thyroid cancer –
Having preventive prophylactic surgery – Since certain genetic alterations can increase the risk of thyroid cancer, an individual can choose to undergo prophylactic surgery to remove the thyroid, which in turn, may prevent the development of cancer.
Eating a healthful diet – A balanced, healthy diet comprising of vegetables, fruits, and low animal fat has been linked with a reduced risk of several types of cancer. As per the recommendation of The American Cancer Society, an individual should consume at least five servings of vegetables and fruits daily. Iodine and omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fishes, like salmon, tuna, and cod may help protect against cancer. Iodine-rich dairy products like cheese, yoghurt and milk should also be a part of your daily diet.
Avoiding exposure to radiation – People, who live close to a nuclear power plant should wear masks and take medications to block the effects of radiation on thyroid glands. Nevertheless, discuss with your doctor about the medication and its dosage.
If cancer is not detected in the initial stage, treatment may not provide a favourable outcome. In many instances, thyroid cancer can recur despite treatment. Therefore, the best way to steer clear of the disease is to prevent its onset.