The thyroid gland in your neck releases hormones that manage and regulate various bodily processes.
Thyroid cancer is a type of endocrine tumor, and can appear anywhere on your thyroid gland. There are two main varieties, papillary and follicular, but their causes remain elusive.
Thyroid cancer may run in families or be isolated occurrences; hereditary cases tend to be more prevalent than sporadic ones and include familial medullary thyroid cancer and multiple endocrine neoplasia.
1. Get regular checkups
One of the best ways to lower your risk of thyroid cancer is getting regular checkups with your physician, as this allows them to detect early warning signs before it leads to symptoms.
At your checkup, your health care provider will likely ask about your medical history, including any family history of thyroid cancer. They may also perform a physical exam to detect lumps or swelling in your neck area.
If they identify something out-of-the-ordinary, they might perform a thyroid blood test or fine needle aspiration biopsy to take tissue samples for testing by pathologists who will then assess if any nodules on your thyroid gland might be cancerous.
Doctors can also order imaging tests, such as CT or MRI scans of the head and neck, in order to help detect cancerous nodules or check for spread in lymph nodes. These can provide valuable insights.
Your healthcare provider will use the information from your test results to evaluate the stage and risk grade (typically between 1-4) of cancer, helping him or her determine the appropriate course of treatment for you.
Thyroid cancer is uncommon and often does not show obvious symptoms, making detection challenging. But early diagnosis could save time and money in the long run.
Most types of thyroid cancer can be effectively treated. Options available may include surgery, radiation therapy and medications.
Early cancer detection increases your odds of long-term survival while also decreasing side effects from treatment, helping you remain healthier for longer and live a more fulfilling life.
2. Eat a healthy diet
Establishing a healthy diet is one of the best ways to lower your risk of thyroid cancer. It doesn’t need to be regimented; just ensure a balance of nutritious food options in your daily meal plans.
Your thyroid gland produces hormones to control your metabolism (how your body uses energy). These hormones regulate your body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate.
Eating healthy can help reduce your risk of thyroid cancer by strengthening your immune system and maintaining healthier cells in your body, as well as helping decrease side effects from thyroid hormone treatments.
Your diet should include five food groups: vegetables, fruit, dairy products, meat and fish. Each food group provides essential vitamins and nutrients; you should choose foods from each group on an ongoing basis.
Diets that contain adequate nutrition should include dark green and red vegetables, whole grains, fruits and low-fat sources of protein such as beans, nuts or lean meats. Furthermore, you should make sure you receive sufficient iodine, selenium and vitamin D intake.
Thyroid diseases and cancer are caused by insufficient amounts of iodine, so eating foods rich in this essential mineral is one way to combat thyroid conditions and cancer. Eggs are one source of iodine while many other food items also provide this necessary element.
One way to ensure a balanced diet is through adhering to a vegetarian lifestyle. Vegetarians should focus on eating lots of fruits and vegetables as well as nuts and seeds for proper nourishment.
Dairy products such as milk and yoghurt can provide valuable sources of calcium and other vitamins. Just remember to limit how much sugar and fat you consume with each serving!
Overindulging can increase your risk of thyroid cancer, so limiting yourself to no more than two drinks daily if you are female is recommended.
3. Exercise regularly
Exercise can help improve both your mood and risk of thyroid cancer. Furthermore, it can help keep you healthy by helping to lose weight or simply improving overall wellness.
As well as aiding with cardiovascular disease and diabetes prevention, regular physical activity can also increase strength and muscle mass for improved metabolism.
Exercise is key to leading a healthy lifestyle and should not come at the cost of diet or sleep; rather, it should complement them both.
At least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity or 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity should be accomplished each day, along with strength training twice weekly to build muscle mass and increase metabolism.
If you don’t already have an exercise routine, speak to your physician or therapist about developing one tailored specifically to you. Starting slowly may be best; eventually you could work up to more intensive programs.
Exercise regularly is beneficial for anyone, but especially so for people living with thyroid conditions. Thyroid disorders may make exercise harder to do due to how they alter the body’s ability to regulate its mood, energy level, heart rate and temperature.
Thyroid hormones play an integral part of your metabolism – how your body burns calories to fuel its activities and generate energy for daily tasks. Unfortunately, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) both can have detrimental effects on this process, causing weight gain, fatigue or difficulty sleeping.
Studies have shown that exercise may lower your risk of thyroid cancer; however, its importance remains uncertain for those living with thyroid cancer. Therefore, more studies should assess its effects on fatigue, quality of life (QoL), and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) with particular reference to sexual functioning among thyroid cancer patients.
4. Get enough sleep
Sleep plays a pivotal role in maintaining many functions within your body, such as the regulation of hormones, metabolism, immunity system functionality and memory function. Sleep also has a significant impact on mood and energy levels – insomnia can lead to serious difficulties that impair daily activities and could even result in depression and/or an inability to perform daily duties.
People suffering from stress, anxiety or other emotional conditions often have trouble sleeping. Consult with a physician or sleep specialist on what steps can be taken to ensure you receive enough restful restful slumber.
Insomnia increases your risk for other health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and decreased concentration and memory capacity, making everyday tasks harder to complete effectively.
Studies revealed that women sleeping less than 7 hours each night were significantly more likely to have thyroid cancer compared with nonobese women sleeping for 8 or more hours a night, specifically nonobese ones.
These findings indicate that sleep disturbance may increase the risk of thyroid cancer among postmenopausal women; however, further research must be completed in order to confirm these results.
There are various biological mechanisms that may explain the correlation between sleep disruption and an increased risk of thyroid cancer and sleep deprivation, for instance an increase in thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) due to sleep deprivation could play a part in its development (12-15).
Another proposed model suggests that changes to waking behavior, such as fatigue and altered appetite patterns, may increase risk of thyroid cancer. Furthermore, sleep deprivation has been shown to induce inflammation that fosters tumor growth.
5. Avoid smoking
Smoking increases your risk for many diseases, such as lung and thyroid cancer. Furthermore, smoking damages cells’ DNA and weakens your body’s immune system – making it harder to fight cancer effectively.
Thyroid cancer is the eighth-most prevalent form of female cancer and affects an estimated 25,000 Americans each year in the US. It is characterized by a growth in an gland which secretes thyroid hormones.
Many types of thyroid cancer, such as papillary and follicular forms, remain symptomless (unnoticeable). However, other forms can produce symptoms if their growth becomes uncontrollable and invade surrounding tissues.
Stop smoking to lower your risk of thyroid cancer; it won’t be hard, and will help you feel better and live longer.
Alcohol should also be restricted as studies have linked consumption of alcoholic beverages with increased risks for thyroid cancer; however, these results tend not to be as striking.
Smoking cessation has never been simpler, and most insurance plans provide free treatment as part of their annual benefits package. If you’re ready to quit smoking, talk to your physician about which medication could best help.
Smoking can make it more difficult for you to produce enough thyroxine and triiodothyronine, the two thyroid hormones responsible for managing metabolism. Furthermore, smoking increases your risk of thyroid enlargement – something which occurs twice as frequently in smokers than nonsmokers.