Friday, June 17, 2011

Thyroid Cancer

Symptoms of thyroid cancer

The symptoms may include:

Ф Difficult to speak in a normal voice: Your voice box, which is the larynx, may be pressed by the thyroid nodules. And this may cause your voice to change.

Ф Difficult to swallow food or to breathe: For swallowing, your trachea is above your esophagus, and thyroid cancer may then cause you to be difficult to swallow your food. Besides, the thyroid cancer may pressured your trachea, that may cause you to breathe.

Ф Pain in the neck: Lumps can be formed near your throat, which is your neck, and this may cause of neck pain.

A lump in the neck of a patient

Ф Swollen lymph nodes: Thyroid cancer may cause swelling of your lymph nodes. It is because of the infection of your lymph nodes when you are having a cold or sore throat. If the infection is gone, the swell will gone. So, if the lymph nodes in your neck happens to enlarge again, it may be the symptoms of you for getting a thyroid cancer.

Swollen lymph nodes in the neck

All the above are some of the symptoms of thyroid cancer. For those who experience such symptoms should see a doctor. Doctor will then need to diagnose a person’s tissue by using different types of tests.

Diagnosis of thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer can be diagnosed by using different types of procedures and tests. These tests could include physical test, imaging test, blood test, biopsies, and so on.

Physical test would be done by your doctor. He or she will look for any enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or any enlargement and lumps of your thyroid. Doctor will check whether there is a palpation forms around your neck.

Imaging tests were also being used to diagnose thyroid cancer. Different types of scans could be used to diagnose this cancer. For example, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computer tomography scan (CT scan), x-ray, positron emission tomography (PET scan), and radioiodine scan.

Ф Computer tomography scan (CT) is like an x-ray scan. Unlike a regular x-ray scan, it takes several of pictures as it rotates when you are lying on the table. It creates images of soft tissues of the body. Besides, this scan may require the patient to drink a contrast solution to produce better quality images. It is used to determine the location and size of the cancer tissue in your body. As for the disadvantages, CT scan requires a longer time as compare to a regular x-ray scan to scan for cancerous tissues. Besides, the contrast dye used by this scan contains iodine, that may interfere with radioiodine scans.

Ф Magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI) uses radio waves to scan thyroid cancer. It provides a clear image of thyroid gland tissues. It is like CT scan that scans for tissues in the body. Computer was used in the process. In order to view a detailed image of cancer tissue, gadoliniums (a contrast dye) is injected into the vein before the scanning process. As to compare with CT scan, MRI scans takes a longer time and a narrow tube was used and may upset people with claustrophobia.

Ф Positron emission tomography (PET scan) uses a modified sugar named flurorodeoxyglucose(FDG). This sugar is injected into the blood of a person. The cancer cells in the body will absorb this sugar if it is growing rapidly. This scan is beneficial to tumors that do not take up radioiodine. However, the image showed in this scan may not be as clearly as CT or MRI scan.

Ф Radioiodine scan may need a solution to be drink by the patient. This solution contains radioactive isotope iodine-131, for thyroid gland is concentrated with iodine-131 that is used to make thyroid hormone. In this process, radioiodine will emits gamma rays. A camera was used to turn gamma rays into an image. The camera is placed in the neck to detect the amount of radioactivity has been emitted by the thyroid gland. However, this scan is useful to differentiate forms of thyroid cancer.

Blood test is used to test for thyroid cancerous tissue. Different blood tests are being used to test cancer tissues, such as TSH test, thyroglobulin test, calcitonin test and Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test.

Ф Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test is the most common used blood test in diagnosing thyroid cancer. It is used to measure the TSH hormone produced in the pituitary gland. High level of TSH may happen in patients with thyroid cancer. Imaging test can be used in this test to evaluate the thyroid nodule.

Ф Thyroglobulin is a protein produced by the thyroid gland. This protein produced in the blood may not be able to diagnose thyroid cancer, for it may cause elevated thyroglobulin levels. But it is useful after the treatment. It is used to check for recurrence after the thyroid has been removed. If the thyroglobulin level in the body rises again, it shows that the cancer may recurred.

Ф Calcitonin test is used to test patients with suspected or a family history of medullary thyroid cancer. Calcitonin is produced in the C-cells of thyroid. If the calcitonin level increases, it shows the recurrence of MTC.

Ф Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test is a blood test for CEA. It is produced in medullary thyroid cancer cells. It is also useful in test for cancer tissues.

Biopsy is used to diagnose thyroid cancer using a fine needle. A needle was placed into
the nodule to take out cells. The cells taken are then viewed under a microscope to check for cancerous tissues. Besides, a numbing medicine, which is anesthesia was injected into the skin before the biopsy. This test is being done if the nodules are big enough for the doctor to feel. An ultrasound machine is used if the nodules are too small. It is used to help the doctor to find the right place inserting the needle.

Diagnosis of thyroid cancer

Risk factors that may cause thyroid cancer:

Ф Family history of goiter: A mother who has thyroid cancer may pass on to her child. A gene called RET is the one who cause thyroid cancer. This gene can be tested by using the blood test.

Ф Exposure to high levels of radiation or iodine: People who exposed to high radiation may develop a higher risk of thyroid cancer. The radiation source would be the x-ray. For those who have been using the high-dose of x-ray, may affects the neck. So, it is better that we should use a lower doses of radiation.

Ф Overconsumption of raw goitrogenic foods or soy food: These foods are such as brussel sprouts, cauliflowers, soy products and so on.

Ф Age: Thyroid cancer may happens on those people who starts to aging, which is above 40 years old.

Ф Smokers: As for those who smokes, it is probably for them to have a higher risk of getting thyroid cancer.

Ф Inherited genetic syndrome: Genetic syndrome such as medullary thyroid cancer may increase the risk for a person of getting thyroid cancer.

Ф Inefficient of iodine in the diet: Thyroid cancer can be decreased if he or she has taken sufficient of iodine in the diet, for thyroid hormone is produced by the help of iodine.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Radioactivity and Thyroid Cancer

Iodine-131 is a radioactive form of the element, iodine, released in abundance in the cloud of radioactive steam released by a failing nuclear power. Thyroid cancer develops when thyroid cells absorb excessive radioactive iodine , either through the air or through contaminated food. Babies and toddlers are at the highest risk as their thyroid glands are most radiation-sensitive whereas those over age of 40 are at less risk. By referring to the diagram above, thyroid sits below the voice box and it controls how fast every cells in the human body changes food into energy. Thyroid hormone released from thyroid gland regulates many functions of the body which includes function of digestive tract, brain, heart, nerves, muscles, bones, and skin.

Iodine is necessary for the formation of thyroid hormone and the main sources of iodine are from fishes and shellfish, dairy and eggs, and fruits and vegetables grown in iodine-rich soil. The human body absorbs iodine and stores it in the thyroid gland. Unfortunately, our thyroid glands are also radiation-sensitive and will store harmful iodine-131 that is released into the atmosphere.

Thyroid gland stores iodine-131 as readily as natural, non-radioactive iodine. As iodine-131 builds up in the thyroid gland, it emits clouds of radiation which damages DNA and subsequently mutation. As this proceeds, normal cellular growth and division mechanism are altered, unchecked growth of thyroid tissue can be referred as thyroid cancer. Iodine-131 enters the human body via few mechanisms:

Iodine-131 are absorbed into the body when human breath in radioactive steam released by a nuclear power plant, from fallout of radioactive particles into atmosphere and from consumption of radioactive iodine contaminated water and crops.

Safety of Japanese Seafood to Thyroid and Health:
Debates have been ongoing about the safety of Japanese seafood, the concerns are due to dumping of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean by Japan's Tokyo Electric Power Co. people are feared of the radioactive iodine-131 that dissolves in water, and experiments have shown that the iodine tends to concentrate in algae which worsen the situation when iodine-131 gets concentrated as it works its way up the food chain.

Several countries have stated that they will strengthen checks of Japanese food for radioactivity, which was decided only hours after the World Health Organization announced that the detection of radiation of some foods in Japan was a more serious problem than expected.

Are you worried? Below are some evidence of the health conscious society:

Malaysia's largest sushi restaurant chain claimed that they had stopped importing raw seafoods from Japan over fears of radiation contamination. In Hong Kong, some luxury hotels including the Shangri-La hotel and Four Seasons Hotel have stopped imports of seafoods from Japan. New Delhi supplier and some restaurants had also stopped imports of Japanese foods.