The thyroid is a gland located in the neck. It is shaped like a butterfly and lies just below the Adam’s apple. Its job is to make hormones that are essential for regulating blood pressure, heart rate, weight, and body temperature. According to the Mayo Clinic, the number of thyroid cancer cases in the United States is rising. This might because new technologies are making it possible to find small tumors that would have been missed in the past. The good news about thyroid cancer is that it can usually be cured. Being able to identify the symptoms of thyroid cancer may allow your older family member to get treatment sooner, making it even more likely that it can be cured.
Does Thyroid Cancer Have Noticeable Symptoms?
Well, that depends on how advanced the cancer is. At first, your aging relative isn’t likely to have any symptoms. However, as the tumor gets bigger, some symptoms may appear. Some symptoms they may notice are:
- A lump on the neck that can be felt through the skin.
- Trouble swallowing.
- A hoarse voice or other changes in the voice.
- Throat and neck pain.
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.
While you should take the older adult to see a doctor if they have any of these signs, you should know that the doctor is likely to look for other causes before testing for thyroid cancer. That is because of the rarity of the disease.
Are There Things That Increase the Odds of Seniors Getting Thyroid Cancer?
Doctors know what the basic mechanics of cancer are. Cancer occurs when the DNA of cells changes, or mutates, causing the cells to grow much more quickly than normal and outlive their normal lifespan. More and more cells accumulate, forming a tumor. What doctors don’t know about thyroid cancer is what causes it to start in some people. They do, however, know some things that can increase the risk of developing the disease, such as:
- Being female.
- Having been exposed to high levels of radiation, such as the radiation used to treat cancers of the head or neck.
If your older family member has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, elderly care can assist them while they undergo treatment and recover. An elderly care provider can offer transportation to and from treatment appointments and checkups. Elderly care providers can also stay with the senior after treatment and help them through any side effects they experience, such as nausea or vomiting. Elderly care providers can also help with tasks around the house that your aging relative may feel too ill to accomplish on their own, such as cleaning or cooking.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE IS CONSIDERING ELDERLY CARE IN ORINDA, CA, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE OF WALNUT CREEK. (925) 203-3039.