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Thyroid cancer

What is thyroid cancer?

The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck, in the area below the Adam’s apple. The gland is shaped like a butterfly and is “wrapped” around the trachea or windpipe.

The two lobes or lobes on either side of the trachea are connected to each other by the thyroid isthmus, which runs across the front of the trachea.

Thyroid cancer can develop at any age, although its incidence increases with age, especially after age 30. Most aggressive forms of the disease are found in older people.

Thyroid carcinoma occurs three times more often in women than in men. The malignant disease arises from one of the two types of cells of the thyroid gland – the follicular cells or the so-called. perifollicular or C cells.

What are the symptoms?

Thyroid carcinoma usually begins with nodules or lumps that are felt under the Adam’s apple. Most thyroid nodules are benign and less than 5% are malignant.

When thyroid nodules are larger than 1 cm and are found to shrink with the uptake of radioactive iodine 131, the tissue is diagnosed by fine-needle aspiration biopsy. >

In rarer cases, the symptoms of carcinoma of the thyroid gland can be expressed in:

  • Hoarse voice and neck swelling;
  • Cough, neck pain, swollen lymph nodes and weight loss;< /li>
  • Neck swelling can make breathing difficult;

What are the causes of thyroid cancer?

There are four the main types of thyroid carcinoma:

  • Papillary carcinoma – the most common type and affects more than 2/3 of the cases of malignant tumors of the thyroid gland. A higher rate of its development exists in people who have received radiation therapy, in which ionizing radiation was directed to the head and neck area.
  • Follicular carcinoma – a type of papillary carcinoma, but occurs in older people. It arises from the mutation of thyroid gland cells or follicular cells and usually progresses very slowly. If it is detected in time, the probability of a complete cure is very high.
  • Medullary carcinoma – develops from the mutation of C cells in the thyroid gland and can become the cause of increased levels of the hormone calcitonin, which is secreted by these cells. It usually progresses slowly and is completely curable if detected at an earlier stage.
  • Aplastic carcinoma – develops extremely rarely, but it progresses very quickly. It is also the result of a change in the follicular cells of the thyroid gland. This type of malignancy has a family history.

Treatment of Thyroid Cancer

The initial treatment is surgery for most types of thyroid carcinoma. The malignant tumor tissue is removed and all lymph nodes in the tumor area are dissected.

Radioactive iodine 131 therapy is usually prescribed after the surgical intervention. Radioactive iodine 131 is used as adjuvant therapy in papillary and follicular thyroid cancer.

This method of treatment is applied from 2 to 6 weeks after thyroid surgery. The therapy consists in prescribing high doses of radioactive iodine 131, which are in the form of liquid or tablets.

People undergoing such treatment should limit iodine intake with food for 5 to 14 days before starting therapy.

During iodine therapy, close contacts with pregnant women and small children should be limited from 3 to 7 days after the termination of treatment.

The goals of this type of therapy are to completely destroy the remaining thyroid tissue in the neck and reduce the likelihood of recurrence of the malignant tissue.

How can we protect ourselves?

To protect ourselves from thyroid cancer, we need to consider several key factors and follow some healthy principles.

The thyroid gland is a small but extremely important part of our body that is involved in the regulation of our general health.

Here are some steps we can take to protect ourselves from developing thyroid cancer:

  1. Regular examinations and tests: Regular medical examinations are essential. Your doctor may perform physical exams and blood tests to check thyroid function and detect possible abnormalities.

  2. Healthy Lifestyle: A healthy lifestyle plays an important role in preventing cancer. Keep active with exercise, eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and avoid excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco products.

  3. Spare the thyroid during radiation procedures: If you are to undergo radiation therapy, make sure that your doctor knows about the condition of the thyroid gland and will take the necessary measures, to protect her from the harmful effects of the rays.

  4. Avoid exposure to radiation: Exposure to high levels of radiation, such as in nuclear accidents, can increase the risk of thyroid cancer. Beware of such situations and follow all security recommendations.

  5. Genetic analysis and family history: If you have a family history of thyroid cancer or other factors that make you more vulnerable, consult a genetic counselor or specialist thyroid to determine your risk and take precautions.

  6. Watch for symptoms and signals: Be attentive to your body and the signals it sends you. If you notice changes in your throat, such as an enlarged thyroid gland, pain or difficulty swallowing, consult a doctor immediately.

Following these steps and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help prevent thyroid cancer and maintain your overall health.

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