Thyroid cancer is a condition which is more common in women than men and which happens when abnormal cells start to grow in the thyroid gland.


The Thyroid

The thyroid gland is a gland with the form of a butterfly which is positioned in the front of the neck. It plays a crucial role in the body because it secretes hormones called triiodothyronine and thyroxin, which help in the regulation of the metabolism of the body, development and growth and the body temperature. These hormones regulate heart function and digestive functions, muscle control, bone maintenance and brain development as well.

Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer is a grave health condition which is generally easy to recognize. There have been 60,000 people who were diagnosed with thyroid cancer in U.S. in 2015 and 1,950 death cases caused by thyroid cancer. Even though these numbers seem shocking, this type of cancer is one of the least fatal cancers.

Some thyroid cancers are more usual than others, but these 4 are the most usual.

Type and occurrence rate:

- Follicular or/and Hurthle cell thyroid cancer: 15%
- Papillary or/and mixed papillary/follicular thyroid cancer: 80%
- Anaplastic thyroid cancer:  2%
- Medullary thyroid cancer: 3%.

It is easier to diagnose thyroid cancer these days, mainly because of the technological development.

You need to be familiar with the symptoms and the risk factors and to be observant.

Thyroid Cancer Symptoms

- Neck lumps which can be painful on occasions
- Neck soreness possibly spreading to the ears
- Difficulty breathing or  swallowing
- A constant hoarse or raspy voice
- Unexplained coughing

Risk factors

- Gender (thyroid cancer is more usual in females)
- Age – it mostly happens after the age of 30and it is more aggressive in older patients.
- Exposure to radiation, particularly in the neck and torso areas
- Genetics

Test yourself at home

To do this simple test you need a mirror and a cup of water. Read the instructions below and be sure to watch the video which gives demonstration of the self -check.

1. Take a cup of water and a mirror

Take a full cup of water and stand in front of a mirror which is well lit and which will offer you a good view of your throat, from the collarbone to your chin. The thyroid is above the collarbone surrounding the throat in the shape of a butterfly, below the larynx, around the bottom one-third of the throat.

2. Drink and look

Take a nip of water and then bend your head backwards but your chin up, at the same time watch your throat while you are swallowing. It might be necessary to repeat this a couple of times for a better visual. Look for any lumps around the thyroid. Observe if the area is symmetrical while you are swallowing or if the sides are different.

What is next

If you notice any lumps or asymmetry you should consult an endocrinologist.

Take a look at this video with a presentation of the self-test:


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