benessere via Flickr

benessere via Flickr

It is an established fact that our risk for cancer increases as we age. We all are going to die of something, right?

One type of cancer seems to be bucking that trend in that it is affecting the young more than the elderly. I am talking about thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer is increasing in the general population but a bulk of the new diagnosis is in younger women; women less than 40. That was the cancer diagnosis Dancing with the Stars former Co-host; Brooke Burke received a little while back.

I bet you are asking why this is happening. The medical community is scratching it’s head on this one but we have two big hunches;

1. Increase use of thyroid ultrasound. The thyroid ultrasound picks up tiny nodules in the thyroid before they get big enough to be felt on physical examination.

2. Increase use of CAT Scans and other radioactive cool tools we use in modern medical care. The hormonal organs like the thyroid, ovaries (testicles in the case of men) are extremely sensitive to radiation exposure.

Even if you are not the one getting these tests if you are in close contact with people who do, the residue they carry around has the potential to latch on to the glands of the people around them.

The worst offenders are CAT scans of the chest, CAT scans of the abdomen and pelvis (belly), Lumbar sacral spine x-rays (low back x-rays).

Besides becoming a hermit (not practical in modern times), here are some more practical ways to lower your risk for getting diagnosed with thyroid cancer

1. Stop demanding a CAT scan for every stubbed toe. Limit your radiation exposure.

2. Run the other way when the “full body scan” bus pulls into your neighborhood. Those full body scans come with a hefty dose of radiation.

3. Ask about shielding your neck and pelvic area if you have to take scans or x-rays that don’t involve these body parts.

4. See a doctor ASAP if you notice a lump in your neck or experience difficulty swallowing. Your thyroid would be evaluated as part of the work up for a neck lump.

Thankfully, thyroid cancer is one of the LEAST deadliest of the cancers and it has really good survival rates.

While we are on the topic of cancers of young women; you might be increasing your risk of developing ovarian cancer by engaging in this “harmless habit” we girls all grew up doing.

The Harmless Habit Putting You at Risk for Ovarian Cancer is only available to logged in Healthgist members.

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About the author

Dr. Bola

Dr. Bola

Family physician. Works for the "man" by day, wife & mom 24/7.
Loves the work of translating "medicalese" to plain english.

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