There are lots of factors that contribute to a person’s likelihood of developing this or any other type of cancer. The more you know about genetics and cancer, the more you can to do keep yourself healthy.
Read on to learn more about the most well-known risk factors for thyroid cancer. You’ll also learn about some of the steps you can take to prevent and treat thyroid cancer.
Risk Factors for Thyroid Cancer
Anyone can be diagnosed with thyroid cancer. At the same time, though, some people are more likely to receive this diagnosis than others.
You might be wondering at this point, “Who is susceptible to thyroid cancer?” or “Am I at risk of developing thyroid cancer?”. If you’ve asked yourself either of these questions, consider whether or not any of these risk factors are applicable to you:
- Being female: Women are about three times more likely to be diagnosed with thyroid cancer than men
- Being older than 40: Women who are in their 40s and 50s are most likely to be diagnosed with thyroid cancer, as are men in their 60s and 70s
- Having certain genetic conditions: Those who suffer from genetic conditions like Cowden disease, Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), and Carney complex, type I have a greater chance of developing thyroid cancer
- Having a family history of thyroid cancer: If your parents or grandparents had thyroid cancer, your risk of developing it increases
- Being exposed to radiation: High levels of radiation exposure as a child can increase your risk of thyroid cancer
- Being overweight or obese: A high BMI (short for body mass index) is associated with thyroid cancer diagnoses
- Iodine deficiency: Being deficient in this mineral can lead to thyroid disorders and an increased risk of thyroid cancer
It’s important to note that, although iodine deficiency is more likely to contribute to thyroid cancer, too much iodine in your diet can also be a problem. Some studies have shown that excess iodine may also cause thyroid cancer and other thyroid conditions.
Preventing Thyroid Cancer
As you can see, there are a lot of factors that can contribute to you developing thyroid cancer. You might not be able to control all of these, but there are certain aspects of your life that you can address to minimize your risk.
The following are some effective lifestyle changes you can make today:
Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet can be a powerful tool when it comes to preventing all types of cancer, including thyroid cancer. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is very beneficial.
It’s also important to make sure you’re consuming adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (most commonly found in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel). These fatty acids have been shown to be protective against cancer.
You might be wondering about iodine supplementation since deficiencies can increase thyroid cancer risk. Most Americans don’t need to worry about iodine supplementation because it’s included in table salt.
What if you don’t use a salt that has iodine in it? If this is the case, you might want to try and increase your consumption of sea vegetables like kelp. This will help you to ensure you’re getting enough.
Regular exercise is important, too. When you exercise on a regular basis, you’ll have an easier time managing your weight. This, in turn, will help you to avoid one of the biggest risk factors associated with developing thyroid cancer: being overweight or obese.
Aim to exercise at least a few times per week, and try to do a mixture of cardiovascular exercise and strength training. This is great for maintaining a healthy weight and improving your overall health.
Do you have a family history of thyroid disorders? Do you have a genetic disorder that increases your risk of thyroid cancer? If so, be sure to get tested and have your doctor examine your thyroid on a regular basis.
Regular check-ups and testing increase the likelihood that they’ll be able to catch any warning signs early. Remember, the sooner your doctor spots a problem, the easier it will likely be to treat. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Treating Thyroid Cancer
If you receive a thyroid cancer diagnosis, you have options when it comes to the way you treat your condition. Here are some of the most effective and thoroughly researched steps you can take to get rid of cancer and improve your health:
- Surgery: This involves removing the thyroid gland or a portion of the thyroid gland
- Radioactive iodine therapy: Radioactive iodine destroys thyroid cells (including cancer cells) without damaging the rest of the body
- External beam radiation therapy: This involves using high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves injecting anti-cancer drugs into the veins or taking them orally
- Targeted drug therapy: These drugs, known as kinase inhibitors, block certain proteins and help to prevent cancer cell growth
Alongside these more invasive treatments, you might also want to consider more holistic options. When it comes to alternative treatment for thyroid cancer, there are plenty of options available. These options include nutrition therapy, supplementation, and mind-body practices like yoga, meditation, and acupuncture.
Many people use these treatments alongside conventional approaches. This helps them to manage the effects of medications and surgeries and feel more at ease.
Take Control of Your Thyroid Health Today
You now know much more about the risk factors for thyroid cancer, as well as what you can do to keep yourself healthy and avoid having to experience this condition. You also have some insight into what you can do to manage thyroid cancer if you get diagnosed with it.
Now that you have this information available to you, it’s time to take action. Follow the prevention tips listed above and make your thyroid health a priority today.
If you need more advice, we have lots of other resources on our site. Head to the Health today to keep learning.