First thing that comes to mind is: what is the thyroid gland and why do we need it for? Well, the thyroid is part of the endocrine glands and it's purpose is to produce hormones, thyroid hormones. They are of essential importance to the body because through their help our body functions stay normal. These hormones have to role to regulate the way in which a person’s body carries on the important functions.
It is situated in the lower part of the neck, and in normal conditions, this gland cannot be felt. It consists of two lobes, a left and a right one, joined together by the isthmus. Other endocrine glands are the pituitary, the parathyroid, the pancreas, the ovaries and the adrenal glands.
As i have said before, a normal thyroid gland cannot be seen or felt. So if at one point, a person can feel a lump on their neck, that should be a sign of thyroid problems. Lumps must immediately be evaluated by a doctor, for they might be cancerous. Some of them are fast growing other develop in a slower way.
People who had any kind of radiotherapy in the neck area are more exposed to the threat of thyroid cancer. But not all diseases of the thyroid can be detected through enlargement of this gland. More common problems could be the production of more hormones than necessary, or even less. In these cases, there could exist an enlargement of the gland, but not in all cases.
To detect a thyroid problem, such as an abnormal function of the gland or a mass, one must see a doctor. In these cases, patients are asked about their medical history and given a physical exam as well. The first thing a doctor does is to examine the thyroid gland, by asking you to lift the chin, and even swallow during the examination. This is only a preliminary test. Others soon come, such as: an ultrasound exam of the neck, a radioactive scan of the thyroid, blood tests, biopsies and x-rays or other scans like MRI.
One of the procedures listed above is the biopsy, in medical terms fine needle aspiration. For more conclusive results, doctors insert a needle into the lump to take tissue samples. More than one intervention of this matter may be necessary, but the procedure is almost without pain and there are no complications. This test tells if the lump is cancerous or not.
There are also different ways in treating thyroid gland problems, depending on the problem. We shall talk about them in the follow up of this article.
For more info regarding thyroid cancer please check http://www.thyroid-info-center.com/thyroid-symptoms.htm or http://www.thyroid-info-center.com/