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PIA Press Release
Friday, January 20, 2012

Public urged to take thyroid cancer seriously

by Rene V. Carbayas

ISABELA CITY, Basilan, Jan 20 (PIA) – The Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center (EJACC) of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) has urged the public to take thyroid cancer seriously and undergo early screening and prevention measures to fight the disease.

Ronald delos Reyes, EJACC program coordinator, said that there is an increasing incidence rate of thyroid cancer in Metro Cebu.

Based on EJACC’s Metro Cebu Population-based Cancer Registry, the incidence rate of thyroid cancer in 2003 to 2007 is high but the mortality rate is comparatively lower.

Within this period, about 573 cases of thyroid cancer were reported and 116 were recorded to have died of the disease. The figures also show that 97 cases have been attributed to persons in between the ages 15-30 while 350 cases are persons with ages 30-60. More women than men have been affected by this disease; in fact, 134 cases are male while 439 cases are female.

“Thyroid cancer is high on prognosis. It is preventable through various screening methods, such as physical examination and ultrasound of the neck, as well as some prevention measures, including regular exercise and maintenance of a well-balanced diet,” delos Reyes explained.

RAFI reported that as a common type of cancer diagnosed in men and women, thyroid cancer ranked sixth in most common cancer cases in Metro Cebu.

According to the 2010 journal of the Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates of the Philippine Cancer Society, the incidence rate had increased from 1980 to 2002, with an annual change of 0.4% in males and 1.6% among females.

The report said thyroid cancer is the most common cancer of women at ages 15-24 years. Among women, the incidence rate rises at age 30 and continues to rise with increasing age. Among men, the incidence rate begins to increase much later, starting at 60 years old.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck just below the Adam’s apple. It works like a tiny factory that uses iodine, mostly from the diet in foods like seafood and salt, to produce thyroid hormones that, in turn, help regulate the body’s growth and metabolism and other functions of the body.

The most common signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer include a lump or thyroid nodule, that can be felt in the neck; trouble in swallowing; throat or neck pain; swollen lymph nodes in the neck; cough; and vocal changes.

People exposed to high levels of radiation are much more likely than others to develop papillary or follicular thyroid cancer. Treatment with x-rays is one significant source of radiation exposure. Between the 1920s and the 1950s, doctors used high-dose x-rays to treat children who had enlarged tonsils, acne, and other problems affecting the head and neck. Later, scientists found that some people who had received this kind of treatment developed thyroid cancer.

People who are diagnosed with this kind of cancer may undergo surgery. Common surgeries include thyroidectory, lobectomy, and tracheostomy. Sometimes, even the removal of the thyroid itself is needed.

RAFI said that the public can get in touch with EJACC in Cebu at telephone number 254-6351 to learn more about thyroid cancer.

“Like many other cancers, thyroid cancer may be more easily cured with early detection. Earlier diagnosis removes thyroid cancer at a time when they are not likely to have spread beyond the thyroid gland,” delos Reyes said. (JPA/RAFI/RVC-PIA9 ZBST)

 
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