Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, an annual event to spread awareness of the effects and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of thyroid cancer.

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck just below the Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland is part of an intricate network of glands called the endocrine system, which is responsible for coordinating many of the body’s activities. The thyroid gland manufactures hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism.

Most thyroid cancers present as a painless and solitary nodule that can be palpable in front of the neck, below the Adam’s apple. Some individuals with thyroid cancer do not develop any symptoms, whereas others may notice they have an enlarged thyroid gland or goiter.

Physical symptoms can include:

-Pain in the neck

-A hoarse voice

-Enlarged lymph nodes/neck/thyroid

-Thyroid nodules


Checking your neck for abnormalities is important. Stand in front of a mirror, removing anything that doesn’t give you a clear view of your neck, like turtle necks and scarves. Then stretch your neck back, pointing your chin upward toward the ceiling. Look at your neck, check for any enlargement or lumpiness. Very gently, feel where your thyroid is, and around it, to see if you can feel any enlargement or lumps. If you think you can feel something not quite right, such as enlargement, tenderness (besides the uncomfortable feeling of touching your neck area) or lumps, you should see your doctor as soon as possible to get their opinion.

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