THE Department of Health called on the public to check themselves for thyroid cancer as it led the observation of National Thyroid Cancer Awareness Week.
Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial said anyone can now detect signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer through self-check.
Ubial said the easiest way is to examine the neck for abnormal lumps. She said one should just stand in front of a mirror with a glass of water and look at the neck in the mirror and see if there are any visible lumps moving up and down while taking a sip of water.
She said that for men, the most visible structure on the neck is Adam’s apple.
“Any lump below this structure may be abnormal and must be further investigated,” she said.
The Health chief stressed that prevention is better than cure but prevention may only be attained if we have the proper information as our weapon against these diseases.
Aside from regular checkup, she cited the need to maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet, exercise and avoid smoking and alcohol. Hand in hand, let us attain our vision of All for Health towards Health for All.
This year, teachers and parents are taught on how to do a proper self-check for early signs of thyroid cancer and to address myths regarding the illness.
Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, just above the collarbone. Thyroid hormones control the body’s metabolism. These include how fast you burn calories and how fast your heart beats.
Thyroid diseases include goiter, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroid cancer and thyroid nodules. These are highly prevalent, yet neglected diseases in the Philippines.
Data from the 2012 Philippine Thyroid Diseases Study (PhilTiDeS) revealed that almost one out of 10 Filipinos is affected by goiter.
Thyroid function abnormalities affect around eight percent of the population, with an estimated three percent affected by some form of hypothyroidism, and about six percent affected by some form of hyperthyroidism. These thyroid diseases affect women disproportionately, with women affected three times as much as men.
Thyroid cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the Philippines, ranking fourth among females and 17th among males. Based on the Philippine population estimate as of July 2014, 5.8-million Filipino adults have goiter, the most common thyroid disorder that maybe a sign of thyroid cancer. This disorder was affiliated with the myth that it could be developed by excessive talking or shouting.
The Republic Act No. 10786 or an Act Declaring the Fourth Week of September of Every Year as the National Thyroid Cancer Awareness week was approved on May 3 2016. In support of the law the Department of Health together with its partners will develop a national program to discuss the causes and consequences as well as the treatment of thyroid cancer.