Thyroid Cancer Essay

1999 Words Mar 4th, 2005 8 Pages
The thyroid gland is the gland that makes and stores hormones that help regulate the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and metabolism. Thyroid hormones are essential for the function of every cell in the body. They help regulate growth and the rate of chemical reactions in the body. Thyroid hormones also help children grow and develop. The thyroid gland is located in the lower part of the neck, below the Adam's apple, wrapped around the trachea. It has the shape of a butterfly with two lobes attached to one another by a middle part called the isthmus. The thyroid uses iodine, a mineral found in some foods and in iodized salt, to make its hormones. The two most important thyroid hormones are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine …show more content…
There is no staging system for anaplastic cancer of the thyroid. This cancer is located in either of the lobes and spreads faster than any of the other types (Thackery 1058).
The exact cause of thyroid cancer is not known but some risk factors have been identified. From the early 1950's to the late 1960's, thousands of children received radiation to treat acne and to reduce infection of the tonsils, adenoids and lymph nodes (Shin 419). It has been proven that radiation is a risk factor for thyroid cancer. Another risk factor is diets that are low in iodine. In parts of the world that have low iodine diets papillary and follicular cancers occur more frequently (Ruben 86). Other risks factors for thyroid cancer include patients with a family history of thyroid cancer. Approximately 7% of thyroid cancer is caused by alteration of a gene called the RET oncogene, which can be inherited (Thackery 1057). Symptoms are rare, and the lump is not usually painful. The lump that can be felt in the neck is the most frequent sign of thyroid cancer. Swelling of the lymph nodes are another symptom. Such symptoms could possibly be roughness or a slight change in the voice due to pressure from the tumor on the nerve connected to the voice box or, difficultly in

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