Several Types Of Thyroid Cancer Can Develop: Know The Risk Factors For Each
The specter of cancer frightens many people. Pegasus caregivers in Saugus and elsewhere understand that knowledge is an effective antidote for fear and worry. Accordingly, they have collected facts about the risk factors for thyroid cancer for you.
Thyroid cancer doesn’t affect nearly as many individuals as other types of cancer. It is, however, the most prevalent type of endocrine cancer. The endocrine system consists of several hormone-secreting glands that regulate bodily functions.
Your Thyroid Is Essential For Your Well-Being
Your thyroid is located at the base of your throat. It has two connected lobes that are often described as butterfly-shaped. It secretes a hormone that controls your:
- Blood pressure
- Body temperature
- Heart rate
An overactive thyroid is called hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism describes an underactive thyroid. A goiter is an oversized thyroid.
Lumps and bumps are known as thyroid nodules. The majority of nodules are benign.
In a small percentage of cases, cells in a nodule begin growing abnormally. The nodule may develop into a malignant tumor. Medical science has not yet determined all the causes of the abnormal growth.
Types Of Thyroid Cancer
Your thyroid has several kinds of cells. The kind of cell in which the tumor grows determines which type of thyroid cancer develops. The types of thyroid cancer are:
- Anaplastic – Less than 2 percent of thyroid cancers are anaplastic. It’s an aggressive form of cancer that grows quickly and is hard to treat. It usually occurs in individuals that are 60 years of age or older.
- Follicular – About one-tenth of thyroid cancers are follicular, making it the second-most frequently occurring type. It tends to affect individuals who are more than 50 years old. It typically responds to treatment. Left untreated, it metastasizes (spreads) to other parts of the body.
- Hurthle – Hurthle is an aggressive form of follicular thyroid cancer. It’s challenging to treat.
- Lymphoma – Thyroid lymphoma is very rare, and generally affects individuals past the age of 60. It grows rapidly and typically spreads to the lymph nodes. It is treatable if diagnosed early.
- Medullary – About 4 percent of thyroid cancers are medullary. It’s usually slow-growing. It responds well to treatment if started before it spreads to other parts of the body.
- Papillary – Papillary is the most common form of thyroid cancer. It usually affects individuals between the ages of 30 and 50. It grows slowly and is rarely fatal, although it can spread to the lymph nodes.
- Sarcoma – Thyroid sarcoma is rare but aggressive. It often doesn’t respond favorably to treatment.
Several other extremely rare variants can occur.
Thyroid cancer symptoms include:
- A noticeable lump
- Changes in your voice
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain in neck or throat
- Swollen lymph glands
Some individuals don’t have any symptoms. The symptoms can also result from other medical conditions.
Risk refers to the possibility of a condition such as cancer occurring. The risk factors for thyroid cancer include:
- Age – Individuals of all ages can develop thyroid cancer, although the risk increases significantly with age. Women tend to develop it between the ages of 40 and 50. Men tend to develop it during their 60s and 70s.
- Gender – Thyroid cancer affects more women than men for reasons that are yet unknown. There is some evidence that the differences between male and female hormones may have a role.
- Genetics – Medullary thyroid cancer has two subtypes, one of which is hereditary. That subtype often develops in children and young adults. About 20 percent of the total medullary thyroid cancers are of this subtype. Certain other diseases with a genetic component may increase the incidence of thyroid cancer.
- Iodine deficiency – A diet deficient in iodine can lead to the development of follicular and anaplastic types of thyroid cancer. Preliminary studies show that excessive consumption of iodine may increase the risk of developing follicular thyroid cancer.
- Obesity – Studies have shown a relationship between obesity and the occurrence of papillary thyroid cancer.
- Previous cancer – Survivors of breast cancer may have an increased risk of developing thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer can also increase the risk of developing breast cancer. A family history of thyroid cancer also increases an individual’s risk.
- Radiation – The risk of developing follicular and papillary thyroid cancer is increased by exposure to radiation. Exposure results from X-rays before 1950, imaging studies, radiation therapy, and radiation fallout (nuclear). The risk is higher if the exposure occurred at a young age.
- Race – All races and ethnicities can develop thyroid cancer, but whites and Asians have a slightly higher rate. American Indians and Alaska Natives have the lowest rate.
Knowing you have a cancer risk factor assists in making good lifestyle choices and seeking appropriate health care.
Thyroid cancer is treatable. Treatment choices include:
- Alcohol injections
- Radioactive iodine
The prognosis is favorable for most individuals. If the thyroid is surgically removed, individuals need life-long hormone therapy.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our caregivers in Saugus and our other locations are dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of individuals. Factual information helps us provide the level of care needed by you or your loved one.