Thyroid cancer is one of the few cancers that is becoming more common. In fact, thyroid cancer rates are rising more rapidly than any other type of cancer in the U.S. September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, and you can make a difference by learning more and sharing what you know with others.
What Does The Thyroid Do?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the base of the neck that plays an important role in heart, liver, kidney, brain and skin function. The thyroid takes in iodine from your diet and turns it into thyroid hormones. These hormones regulate your metabolism, growth, and maturation. There are several thyroid conditions that can affect its performance, one of which is thyroid cancer.
Learn About Thyroid Cancer
Raising awareness for thyroid cancer can aid in early detection and better treatment. Here are 10 important things to know about thyroid cancer:
- It’s not completely known why thyroid cancer rates are rising. Newer screening methods such as thyroid ultrasounds are able to catch small cancerous nodes that might have gone unnoticed in the past. However, the rates are still rising for all sizes of thyroid tumors.
- Thyroid cancer is much more common among women. Approximately 62,500 people will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer this year, of whom roughly 47,000 are women. This means women are about three times more likely than men to get thyroid cancer.
- Unlike many other cancers that primarily affect adults, thyroid cancer is commonly diagnosed in younger adults. Two-thirds of thyroid cancer cases are diagnosed in people younger than 55.
- Regions with low-iodine diets, such as the U.S. often have higher rates of thyroid cancer. Iodine occurs naturally in many different foods, but is the highest in sea vegetables (like seaweed), yogurt, cranberries, potatoes with the skin on, and seafood such as scallops, cod, sardines and tuna. Iodine is also found in table salt, which is fortified with iodine.
- Having received radiation treatments, especially to the head or neck during childhood, is another risk factor for thyroid cancer. In the past, radiation was used more commonly as a treatment in ways that we no longer use it. However, radiation is still used as a treatment for several childhood cancers such as Wilms Tumor, lymphoma and neuroblastoma.
- Most people who develop thyroid cancer have no family history of the condition. However, genetic susceptibility can vary based on the type of thyroid cancer. The risk for some types of thyroid cancer can be higher for people with certain rare genetic conditions.
- The common symptoms of thyroid cancer include: a lump or swelling in the neck, pain in the neck, hoarseness and other voice changes that do not go away, trouble swallowing or breathing, and a constant cough not caused by a cold.
- Later stages of thyroid cancer have lower 5-year survival rates, ranging from 30 percent to 70 percent. When caught early, the 5-year survival rate for thyroid cancer can be above 90 percent, and sometimes even close to 100 percent.
- Treatment depends on the type of thyroid cancer. Treatment can include a combination of chemotherapy, radioactive iodine treatment, surgery, and other hormone or radiation therapies.
- The chance for recurrence after treatment is relatively high at around 30 percent. Luckily, thyroid cancer tends to come back in lymph nodes, which can be easily treated or removed surgically.
Make A Difference This September And Donate Your Vehicle
At Wheels For Wishes we like to help raise awareness for all types of cancer. Many different awareness months are recognized in September, such as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Awareness Month. You can help raise awareness all year long by referring to our cancer awareness ribbon infographic.
Wheels For Wishes also supports Make-A-Wish through our car donation program. You can make a positive difference for children facing cancer or other critical illnesses when you donate a car through our program. The proceeds from your donation go to your local chapter of Make-A-Wish, helping them grant more wishes that bring joy to kids who need it most.
To donate your car, please call us at 1-877-431-9474 or fill out our online car donation form.