This year, it is estimated that over 53,000 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

Thyroid cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer in women. It’s the type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the thyroid, the butterfly-shaped gland that can be found at the base of the neck.

Signs and symptoms of the disease don’t usually show up until the cancer progresses. Some of the most common symptoms of thyroid cancer include a lump that can be felt through the skin in your neck, increasing hoarseness of the voice, pain in the neck and throat, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

Like most types of cancers, there are better treatment outcomes for thyroid cancer if they are detected and treated early.

Are you at risk?

Since there are usually no signs or symptoms during the early stage of the disease, it’s important to get checked especially if you’re at risk.

You may be at risk of thyroid cancer if you are:

  • a female

Thyroid cancer is very common among women. In fact, women are diagnosed with 3 of every 4 cases of thyroid cancer.

  • between the ages of 20 and 55

Although thyroid cancer can occur at any age, about two-thirds of all cases are found among those between the ages of 20 and 55.

  • have exposure to radiation

Moderate levels of radiation to the head and neck may increase the risk of certain types of thyroid cancer including follicular and papillary thyroid cancer.

Radiation exposure could be from having radiation therapy for lymphoma in the head and neck, low to moderate-doses of x-ray treatments done before 1950, and exposure to ionizing radiation from atomic weapons testing during the 1950s and 1960s.

  • have a diet low in iodine

Iodine is needed for normal thyroid function. A diet low on this can cause thyroid issues, which can potentially increase the risk of thyroid cancer.

  • had a breast cancer

Some studies have shown that breast cancer survivors have a high chance of developing thyroid cancer especially those who were diagnosed at a young age.

If you suspect that you have thyroid cancer, don’t hesitate to see a specialist. Remember, as soon as it is detected and treated, the better is the outcome.