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Thyroid Cancer Essay example

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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 (T3). The thyroid gland also makes the hormone calcitonin, which is involved in calcium metabolism and stimulating bone cells to add calcium to bone.
Thyroid caner is a disease in which the cells of the thyroid gland become abnormal, grow uncontrollably and form a mass of cells called a tumor. Some tumors grow and enlarge only at the site where they began. These types of tumors are referred to as benign tumors. Other tumors not only enlarge locally, but they also have the potential to invade and destroy the normal tissues around them and to spread to other regions of the body. These types of tumors are called malignant tumors or cancer.() Malignant tumors of the thyroid gland tend to develop gradually and remain localized. The tumors usually appear as nodules or lumps of tissue growing on or inside the gland itself. Almost 95% of these lumps or nodules are non-cancerous (benign), and are usually caused by thyroid conditions such as goiters (Shin 422). The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 23,600 new cases of thyroid cancer in the U.S. in 2004 (Thackery 1057). Women are three times more likely to develop thyroid cancer than men. Although the disease also affects younger people, most people who develop thyroid cancer are over 50 years of age. Caucasians are affected more often than African-Americans (Rubin 88).
      There are four main types of thyroid cancers: papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic. These tumors are identified by the type of cells seen under the microscope. Papillary thyroid tumors occur most often. This type of thyroid cancer develops on one or b...


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... people with thyroid cancer have no known risk factors. Therefore it may not be possible to prevent it. However, inherited cases of medullary thyroid cancer can be prevented if radiation to the neck is avoided (Longe 3308). If a family member has had the disease, the rest of the family can be testes and treated early. The National Cancer Institute recommends an examination for anyone who has received radiation to the head and neck area during childhood at intervals of one or two years. It is also recommended that the neck and the thyroid should be carefully examined for any lumps or enlargement of the nearby lymph nodes.


     
     
     

          
     






Work Cited
Longe, Jacqueline L. “Thyroid Cancer.” The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. 2nd ed. 2001.
Rubin, Alan L. Thyroid for Dummies. New York, NY: Hungry Minds, 2001.
Shin, Linda M. Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders Sourcebook. Detroit, MI:
Omnigraphics, 1998
Surks, Martin I. The Thyroid Book. Yonkers, NY: Consumer Reports Books, 1993
Thackery, Ellen. “Thyroid Cancer.”


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