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Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid Cancer

The thyroid is a small gland that is part of the endocrine system. It is located below the larynx (voice box) at the front of the neck. It is made up of two lobes which sit on either side of the trachea (windpipe). The lobes are connected by tissue called the isthmus.

The thyroid contains two types of cells:
• follicular cells
• C cells

Both types of cells create different types of hormones.

When the cells change or stop growing altogether, benign conditions including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules or thyroiditis can occur. Other times, these changes can be the prompt for thyroid cancer. Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common type of thyroid cancer making up 70 percent of all thyroid cancers, while follicular thyroid carcinoma is the second most common type and anaplastic thyroid cancer is the least common. Medullary thyroid carcinoma is another cancer that starts in the C cells.

Thyroid Cancer Causes & Symptoms
Causes & Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

Unlike most other cancers, thyroid cancer is mot commonly diagnosed at a young age; between the ages of 15 and 29.

Risk factors for thyroid cancer include:
• exposure to ionizing radiation
• history of benign conditions of the thyroid
• family history of MTC (medullary thyroid cancer)
• obesity
• hereditary conditions

Other possible risk factors include:
• eating low levels of iodine
• eating too few vegetables
• high levels of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)
• reproductive and hormonal factors in women
• reproductive and hormonal factors in women

Factors that do NOT contribute to thyroid cancer include:
• alcohol consumption
• tobacco use

Some of the following symptoms can be caused by things other than thyroid cancer, so it is important to visit your physician for a proper diagnosis.

Symptoms of thyroid cancer include:
• lump or mass in the front of the neck
• hoarse voice
• difficulty swallowing
• swelling in neck or lymph nodes
• trouble breathing
• pain in front of the neck
• sore throat not due to a cold

Who Gets Thyroid Cancer
Who Gets Thyroid Cancer

More women than men get thyroid cancer at a rate of 3 to 1. It can occur at any age but the majority of cases occur in people between the ages of 15 and 49.

Thyroid Cancer Prognosis
Prognosis if You Have Thyroid Cancer

The prognosis for people with thyroid cancer can vary depending on several factors including medical history, type of thyroid cancer, stage and treatments chosen.

5-Year Survival Rates for Papillary thyroid cancer:
• Stage I — 100 percent
• Stage II — 100 percent
• Stage III — 93 percent
• Stage IV — 51 percent

5-Year Survival Rates for Follicular thyroid cancer:
• Stage I  — 100 percent
• Stage II — 100 percent
• Stage III — 71 percent
• Stage IV — 50 percent

5-Year Survival Rates for Medullary thyroid cancer:
• Stage I — 100 percent
• Stage II — 98 percent
• Stage III — 81 percent
• Stage IV — 28 percent

5-Year Survival Rates for Anaplastic thyroid cancer:
• Stage IV – 7 percent (all cases are classified as stage IV)

Treatments for thyroid cancers vary depending on several factors including stage, grade and type of cancer along with the age and the overall health of the patient.

Conventional medicine’s main types of treatment for thyroid cancer include:
• Surgery
• Radioactive iodine therapy
• Chemotherapy
• Hormonal therapy
• External beam radiation therapy
• Biological therapy
• Follow-up

How to Prevent Thyroid Cancer
How to Prevent Thyroid Cancer

Most people who are diagnosed with thyroid cancer have no known risk factors which make prevention difficult. Limiting high levels of radiation exposure can help. Testing for genetic mutations found in MTC (medullary thyroid cancer) can also be done.

Immune System Health
Immune System Health

A healthy immune system remains your body's best defense. Not only is a weak immune system a major reason patients have cancer — and cancer itself can further weaken the immune system.

Beta glucans help regulate the immune system, making it more efficient. In addition, beta glucans stimulate white blood cells (lymphocytes) that bind to tumors or viruses and release chemicals to destroy it.

Beta Glucan has been approved in Japan, Australia, South Korea, and Taiwan as an immunoadjuvant therapy for cancer. In fact, helping with cancer is just the beginning with Beta Glucan. There have thousands of studies showing the product can protect against infections, lower your cholesterol, lower blood sugar, reduce stress, increase your antibody production, heal wounds, help radiation burns, overcome mercury-induced immunosuppression (like Thimerosal, used as a preservative in vaccines), help with diabetes, and even naturally prevent metastasisThe spread of cancer cells from the place where they first formed to another part of the body. In metastasis, cancer cells break away from the original (primary) tumor, travel through the blood or lymph system, and form a new tumor in other organs or tissues of the body. The new, metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the lung, the cancer cells in the lung are breast cancer cells, not lung cancer cells. (or the spreading of your cancer).

Harvard Medical School suggests following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward keeping your immune system strong and healthy:

• Don't smoke.
• Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fatA type of fat with certain chemical properties that is usually solid at room temperature. Most saturated fats come from animal food products, but some plant oils, such as palm and coconut oil, also contain high levels. Eating saturated fat increases the level of cholesterol in the blood and the risk of heart disease..
• Exercise regularly.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Control your blood pressure.
• If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
• Get adequate sleep.
• Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
• Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.

More Information: Building the Immune System

Healthy Diet
Healthy Diet

Your diet plays a role in a healthy immune system. The top vitamins your immune system needs to perform include:

Vitamin C — helps to repair and regenerate tissues and aids in the absorption of iron
• Vitamin E — a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off infection
• Vitamin B6 — supports adrenal function and is necessary for key metabolic processes
• Vitamin A — aids immune function and helps provide a barrier against infections
• Vitamin D — modulates cell growth, promotes neuromuscular and immune function, and reduces inflammation
• Folate — key in development of red blood cells (a lack of Folate can make the body susceptible to cancer)
• Iron — helps your body carry oxygen to cells
Selenium — slows the body's over-active responses to certain aggressive forms of cancer
• Zinc — slows the immune response and control inflammation in your body

Sources: American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research Society

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