Thyroid cancer can be treated and cured with timely diagnosis

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One must understand the symptoms and take preventive action to avoid the condition

New Delhi, 26th May 2018: About 32% of Indians suffer from various kinds of thyroid disorders including thyroid nodules, hyperthyroidism, goiter, thyroiditis and thyroid cancer, as per a recent report. According to official statistics, the number of thyroid patients in India is one-tenth of 80,000 Americans who are suffering from thyroid cancer. The US is expected to have the highest number of thyroid cases by 2020 in the world, closely followed by India.

Thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid — a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. The thyroid produces hormones that regulate heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Thyroid cancer occurs when cells in the thyroid undergo certain mutations. These allow the cells to grow and multiply rapidly and they also lose the ability to die like normal cells. These abnormal thyroid cells accumulate to form a tumor. They can further invade nearby tissue and spread throughout the body. Thyroid cancer is of 5 different types: Papillary (it affects people in the age group of 30 to 50) and arises from follicular cells which store and produce thyroid hormones; follicular; medullary (begins in the thyroid cells); anaplastic (rare and difficult to treat); and thyroid lymphoma (rare, begins in the immune system cells in thyroid and spreads rapidly).

Although there are no visible symptoms at first, in the later stages one can experience the following: a lump that can be felt through the skin on your neck; changes to your voice, including increasing hoarseness; difficulty swallowing; neck and throat pain; and swollen lymph nodes.

Adding further Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “A surgery may be needed to remove all or most of the thyroid. Thyroid surgery carries a risk of bleeding and infection. Surgery may cause some damage to the parathyroid glands, which can lead to low calcium levels in the body. It may also cause accidental damage to the nerves connected to your vocal cords, which can lead to vocal cord paralysis, hoarseness, soft voice or difficulty breathing. Prevention is thus better than cure.”

Some tips from HCFI.

• Avoid radiation. It is better to avoid frequent or long-term exposure to prevent any form of cancer. See if another imaging method, like MRI, can be used for evaluation instead, because CT scans pack about 500 times the radiation of x-rays.
• Know the symptoms Understand what the common symptoms of thyroid cancer are.
• Get Tested Have your GP check for nodules and test TSH levels every few years if you have risk factors for cancer.

Awareness needs to be created to dispel fears about Nipah virus

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Another aspect of the Nipah outbreak is coming to light, and a rather unfortunate one at that.

Yesterday, the TOI Kozhikode edition reported that health workers are facing social ostracism with reports of nurses being ostracized and staff at a crematorium allegedly showing reluctance to cremate the body of a victim who fell prey to the deadly virus.

Doctors and nurses work tirelessly and with devotion for their patients, whose interests and welfare are above all for doctors and nurses.

Doctors and nurses are doing their duty to care for the affected patients without concern for their own personal safety. Nipah is a potentially life-threatening illness. A nurse passed away days after she acquired the infection as she was part of the team that treated the first victim of the Nipah virus.

Such dedicated service should be recognized, respected and accorded a national honor. This would have surely merited an honor if it were the military personnel.

This social ostracism indicates the extent of fear and panic amongst the public and also highlights the need to create awareness about the disease in question. The public should not react in such a manner. More importantly, the media should not overplay such stories. They should instead run awareness campaigns to dispel various fears and doubts among the public.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee

Vice President CMAAO

Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Immediate Past National President IMA