Shaped like a butterfly the thyroid gland is located in the neck below the
Adam’s apple. This “master gland” produces the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones regulate the body’s metabolic rate, sleeping patterns, energy levels, body temperature, regulation of blood cholesterol levels, weight and cardia output.
The thyroid gland also produces a hormone called calcitonin, together with the parathyroid hormone, controls the amount of calcium circulating in the blood.
There are no specific symptoms for the detection of thyroid cancer. Signs that may draw your attention that there is a problem with your thyroid gland are:
a lump or nodule in the throat
swollen lymph nodes for no apparent reason
pain in the neck, jaw or ears
difficulty swallowing, a tickle in throat
change in voice and hoarseness
Common factors that may put you at risk for thyroid cancer are:
having been exposed to radiation, especially as a child
being a female; the risk is three to one
being of the white race
diet lacking of iodine; although the lack is not common in the developed world there are parts of Asia and Africa where iodine is not in the diet
Of all the cancers, thyroid cancer cases are rising the fastest. The reasons are not definite but may be the improved medical methods of detection, our poor diets and obesity, and the environment.
Being aware of any changes in our body is very important. Routine physicals and self checks are crucial. The free “7 Steps to do a Neck Check of the Thyroid Gland Guide” explains how to do a self exam of your neck. Thyroid cancer is a usually a very slow growing cancer, making early detection very important for a good prognosis.
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