Thyroid cancer is one of the many cancers covered under the EEOICPA and RECA free home health benefits which we provide, as long as the person who has developed this cancer worked for the DOE in the US. Thyroid cancer is projected to develop in more than 56 thousand individuals in 2017, with an astounding 75% of them being female. Though all cancer is terrible and tragic, those who have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer may be able to find some hope. The prognosis for thyroid cancer is fairly positive, which means that treatment and a cure are very attainable. For individuals or families of individuals who have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, we hope to shed some light on the subject in this article and offer you some hope as you go through this difficult time.
Understanding thyroid cancer requires us to also understand what the thyroid is and what function it plays in our bodies. The thyroid is a large gland at the base of your neck. Glands produce hormones and chemicals in the body, and the thyroid in particular is responsible for producing hormones which control metabolism, growth/development in children, and heartbeat. You can only live without your thyroid if you take daily medications which supplement your body with these hormones and chemicals, but it is best to leave the thyroid intact whenever possible.
Thyroid cancer comes in many different forms, but the most common type is classified as a mass or lump at the base of the neck. This type of cancer, called papillary thyroid cancer, occurs due to a rapid division of cells within the thyroid tissue. The gland’s cells divide at an abnormal rate, which can cause mutations in the DNA. These mutations lead to a lack of proper function or no function at all in the tissues, rendering those cells useless. The real problem, beyond the body producing useless cells, is that the cancerous mass begins to steal nutrients from the other health, functioning thyroid cells, damaging or killing off part of the thyroid.
Those who are diagnosed with thyroid cancer early enough generally have a very positive prognosis. The death rate among thyroid cancer victims is only 3.5%, which represents only .0006% of the entire US population. Thyroid cancer is very treatable, and most people can heal completely and live a quality life after receiving treatment. If thyroid cancer is left unchecked for long enough, however, there is a chance that it could metastasize, or spread, throughout the body and cause other malignant cancers.
Causes of Thyroid Cancer
There are a few known causes of thyroid cancer, but many are still unknown. The most common cause of this type of cancer is genetics, as thyroid cancer is heavily connected to malfunctions in DNA reproduction. Thyroid cancer may also occur because of a lack of iodine in a person’s diet, iodine which the thyroid uses to create regulatory hormone. The most prevalent cause in our industry, however, is radiation exposure. Radiation from heavy metals and other toxic materials can result in cell DNA mutations, and the thyroid is especially sensitive to it. Those who develop thyroid cancer due to radiation usually contract it through their workplace if they work with nuclear materials or other dangerous metals like lead or cadmium.
Symptoms and Treatments
Thyroid cancer manifests itself in a few different ways. This usually includes a lump or swelling in the neck, trouble swallowing or breathing, or a hoarse voice that doesn’t go away. Doctors are able to run definitive tests which can determine if the lump is cancerous, after which they can prescribe a series of treatments or an operation to remove the thyroid. Certain treatments may involve chemotherapy or radioactive iodine (which completely removes all cells, cancerous and noncancerous, in your thyroid), and surgery may be an effective option to simply remove the mass. Your doctor will consult with other oncologists to ensure you receive the best treatment, but the chances of you being able to heal from this cancer are relatively high.
Getting More Out of Your Benefits
It’s in your best interest to receive all the benefits available under DOL EEOICPA and RECA if you have developed thyroid cancer due to your occupational work. We encourage you to call us to begin receiving free home healthcare services to help you and your family overcome the physical and emotional pains that cancer can bring. Contact us at (800) 314-2383 to get more information and sign up for our services.