The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland present just below the voice box in the neck, which produces hormones called thyroxine and triiodothyronine- and controls and regulates basic metabolism, heart rate, muscle strength, menstrual cycles, blood pressure, body temperature and body’s weight.
Thyroid cancer is a disease in which a lump is formed on the cells of the thyroid gland. At times, thyroid cancer can be malignant (invade throughout the body).
Following are few causes:
- Past history of hypothyroidism, in which neck swells up- called as goiter.
- Acromegaly, when high amount of growth hormones are released in the body.
- Familial adenomatous polyposis, a bowel condition.
- History of breast cancer
- Radiation exposure.
From the past decade, its prevalence has been increased in India by approximately 3.8%. Also, thyroid cancer is more prominent in women than men and targets especially the young (<30 years) and middle-aged (30-44 years) women.
The most infuriating thing about this is, it doesn’t pain much at the initial stage but when the problem reaches its severity the symptoms include:
- Pain in neck, sometimes radiates to ears also.
- Voice changes and hoarseness.
- Difficulty in swallowing.
- Difficulty in breathing.
- Cough, that is not due to cold.
- Swollen neck
- Diarrhea and flushing
In the month of Thyroid Cancer Awareness, we’d like to preach that ‘precaution is better than cure’, so, if you are facing any of the above symptoms, consult your physician, diagnose it and fix it. If diagnosed early it can be cured easily.
More and more people should be aware of thyroid cancer so, that the problem would not become prominent in India. September is the thyroid awareness month observed in which many steps have been taken to raise awareness on its symptoms, cause and interventions. Also, thyroid cancer is linked with obesity and consuming some animal products like red-meat, and pork. Hence, it is advisable to restrict the red meat consumption to reduce the risk of thyroid cancer.
Some of the interventions that could be adopted are as follows:
- Tea consumption: Several studies have showed that black and green tea have positive reducing effects on thyroid cancer when compared with people who are not consuming it. A long term study indicated that the consumption of chamomile tea has reduced the risk of thyroid cancer to almost 80%.
- Vegetable consumption: Switching over plant source diet with lot of veggies showed satisfactory results in reducing the problem up to 25% including both malignant and benign thyroid cancer. So, include whole set of veggies like spinach, bell pepper kale, onion, tomato, eggplant, okra, carrot and any other vegetable you can think of! However, if you have any standing thyroid problems, avoid the consumption of cruciferous vegetables like- cabbage and broccoli.
- Avoiding red meat: Researches have been done which prove that red-meat is associated with speeding up the risk of thyroid cancer by almost 50%. Switch to lean meat instead like skinless chicken.
- Balanced diet: This is also evidenced that people with heavy weight are more prone to this risk than those with optimum weight.
If the cancer reach its peak, the treatment can be followed by surgery, by which entire thyroid is removed and then after, radioactive iodine therapy is generally done.
Over to you
It is highly recommended that dietary interventions should be kept in mind to stay away with the problem. Precautions must be followed anyhow to stay healthy in life. So, have a happy and disease-free life!