The number of thyroid cases has increased over the years. That's partly because the rate of detection has also gone up.
But, there are some factors about thyroid cancer that are troubling among medical professionals. They still don't exactly know why women are four times more likely to get the disease over men.
"Patients are found to have thyroid nodules. Thyroid Nodules are a very common problem," said Doctor Paul Schalch, an Otolaryngologist at the Center for Medical Arts in Carbondale. "In fact up to a certain age you'll find that half of all patients have one or more thyroid nodules."
Doctor Schlach said there are certain factors that do make women more susceptible to the disease over men.
"The age of the patient, hormones, female gender over male, history of radiation exposure and family history," he said.
There are four major types of thyroid cancer in existence today. They are: papillary, folliscular, medullary and anaplastic. Of the four medullary can be passed from parents to their children.
Doctor Schalch does a biopsy on any suspicious thyroid nodules in his patients, even if they have no symptoms.
"Thyroid Nodules can be notorious for really not causing any symptoms even if they're harboring cancer within them," Doctor Schalch said. "And the growth of these can occur over several years, if not decades."
That is why Doctor Schlach recommends that everyone get a head and neck ultrasound at some point and time in their lives.
"I would say definitely before 45 years of age for females. And then around that age or even a little later for males," Doctor Schalch said. "Younger women with thyroid nodules that are suspicious for cancer are more likely to have cancer just based on their age. So ages younger then 45 will definitely represent the higher risk factor."
But, just like many other cancers, Doctor Schalch said thyroid cancer is treatable is detected at an early stage.
"In patients younger then 60-65 years of age the success rate and survival rate over a five year period can be over ninety percent occasionally," he said. "So it's a highly treatable cancer particularly of course if it's detected early."
The American Cancer Society is reporting that of the 1,850 deaths from thyroid cancer this year; 1,040 of them were women.
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