The thyroid gland, which is housed just below your voice box, derives its name from the Greek word for shield due to its shape. A healthy thyroid is just a little bigger than a quarter and cannot be felt under the skin. It has two lobes. A swollen lobe may just feel like a lump in your throat.

A swollen lobe is called a goiter that is normally caused due to iodine deficiency. There are, however, other abnormal conditions of thyroid, out of which, thyroid cancer (thyroid carcinoma) is the most serious.

Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

Often, thyroid cancers in early stages produce no thyroid cancer symptoms. As the cancer grows, a small lump or nodule can be felt in the neck. The vast majority of thyroid nodules are caused by benign conditions – only about 1 percent of these types of nodules actually signify the presence of thyroid cancer.

If it is indeed thyroid cancer and begins to spread, it can cause thyroid cancer symptoms that include:

* Problems with swallowing or a choking feeling
* A lump or nodule in the neck, especially near the Adam's apple in the front of the neck
* Hoarseness, changes in voice or experiencing difficulty speaking normally
* Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck
* An enlarged neck
* Breathing difficulty
* Pain in the throat and/or neck, including discomfort from the neck to the ears
* Neck sensitivity, experiencing discomfort when wearing neckties, turtleneck tops, necklaces or scarves
* A chronic, persistent cough that is not due to illness or allergies
* A large nodule on one side of the thyroid gland and nothing on the other
* Nodules which cause the wind pipe to go to one side of the neck

Please remember that 99% of thyroid gland nodules are benign, but only your physician can determine if a lump in your neck is cancerous. Each of the symptoms above can be caused by infections and other benign conditions. If you have found a lump in neck neck or have any of the above thyroid cancer symptoms, you should visit your doctor for a checkup to determine the cause of your symptoms.

Whereas no one can tell for sure what causes thyroid cancer, treatment for thyroid cancer and thyroid medications take a long time to produce results.

Diagnosis, Treatment of Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer treatment involves a series of procedures that can start only after some visible thyroid cancer symptoms surface because early thyroid cancer does not show any significant thyroid cancer symptoms.

Any suggestive thyroid cancer symptoms would first require a physical examination of any swelling in the lymph nodes in the neck along with blood tests for abnormal levels in thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). In case medullary thyroid cancer is suggested, the physician may opt for checking high levels of calcium in the blood or the RET gene.

Other diagnostic procedures to validate thyroid cancer symptoms may involve an ultrasonography, a radionuclide scanning, or a biopsy. Biopsy is a procedure whereby a sample tissue is examined under a microscope to determine if the cells have become malignant (cancerous).

Once a positive diagnosis is established, the patient has the option to go for natural thyroid treatments or settle for the routine allopathic procedures and prescription medication.

Surgery is the most common thyroid cancer treatment, which could mean removal of the entire thyroid (Total thyroidectomy) or the lobe with the cancerous nodule (lobectomy). Sometimes an operation is required to check for cancer that may have spread. In cases where cancer has indeed spread, an I-131 therapy or external radiation is necessary for its treatment. Practically all patients who have had their thyroid gland removed require thyroid hormone pills to substitute the natural hormone.

Radioactive iodine therapy is another thyroid cancer treatment method to destroy thyroid cancer cells anywhere in the body. In cases where low dosage of radioactive iodine (I-131) is required the patient is not hospitalized but treated as an outpatient. However, this therapy does not work in cases of medullary thyroid cancer or anaplastic plastic cancer.

Patients in advanced stage of thyroid cancer do not respond to radioactive iodine therapy and require a local therapy known as external radioactive therapy. This involves directing high-energy X-Rays to the affected part. This process can mean daily visits to the hospital for several weeks.

There are also drugs that can kill cancerous cells. This is a systemic therapy, which is a common thyroid cancer treatment,  known as chemotherapy because the drugs enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body.

Thyroid medications require careful follow up and management. Chemotherapy involves drugs that can affect any part of the body and destroy healthy cells along with the cancerous cells. This results in weakening of your immune system, which in turn can expose you to further infections. They can also cause fatigue, nausea and vomiting, mouth sores, pain, hair loss, and anemia. If at all you are allowed to work, it may necessitate a major change in your work schedule.

There are alternative thyroid cancer treatments available which can prove to be of great help in thyroid treatment as they are devoid of any side effects and require minimal management.

The thyroid is a very sensitive organ that is responsible for many functions in the body. Natural remedies have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years to support the solid thyroid health and health of the endocrine system, helping to support and balance efficient hormone production and natural thyroid gland function.

In more recent times, research has confirmed this traditional wisdom. There are now many published clinical studies demonstrating the ability of a range of herbs to support the endocrine system and thyroid health.

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