Any type/ kind of cancer can be prevented with a healthy and active diet and lifestyle.
While there are no known risk factors for thyroid cancer, it has also been observed it affects more young women than men. The thyroid gland is a very important gland of the human body which produces hormones to regulate the body’s metabolism as well as the functions of the heart, digestion, muscle control, brain development, and maintenance of bones to ensure a good supply of iodine from the diet.
Watch out for symptoms
Any thyroid-related illness, including cancer, will throw up common signs and symptoms like fatigue and tiredness, muscle weakness, sudden weight gain or loss and extra sensitivity to cold. Visit a doctor and go through the recommended screening tests and guidelines to detect and rule out any surprise.
Radiation is dangerous
Early and cumulative exposure to radiation in the environment during childhood is known to cause thyroid cancer – living close to a nuclear power plant, being treated for past cancers, frequent imaging tests like MRIs, X-rays or CT scans during a doctor or dental visit. There is medication available in the form of iodine tablets or potassium iodide supplements for those living close to nuclear plants.
Healthy Iodine Levels
Thyroid cancer has been linked to iodine deficiency in the diet. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iodine is 150mcg/day in adults as per the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), USA/Iodised salt and salt added at the time of making bread are ways to supplement iodine in the body to reduce thyroid cancer.
Routine Medical Checks and Tests
An annual medical check-up and follow-up with the doctor are a must – TSH levels and investigation for unexplained lumps, tissues and nodules and any difficulty in swallowing food or hoarseness in the voice.
A healthy diet should include lots of fibre from fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, lean meat and a good amount of Omega-3 Fatty acids from fish, walnuts and flaxseeds and consumption of the adequate amount of water. We should avoid genetically-modified (GMO) products and increase soy consumption and cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, spinach, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
Maintaining a healthy weight is very critical to keep thyroid cancer at bay. Avoid cigarette smoking and work on ways and means to quit the habit besides healthy choices like eating right and staying fit. Adopt more eco-friendly chemical-free products in our food, water or household choices.
Healthy Levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin D and B12
Besides a healthy diet and a healthy weight, one should also have healthy levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin D and B12. Optimum Vitamin D levels should be at 50mg/ml.
People with High Risk
Those with inherited gene mutation or changes in certain genes run an increased risk of thyroid cancer. After assessing genetic tests, risks and treatment options in consultation with doctors and counsellors, they can opt for preventive surgery by getting their thyroid gland removed. Thyroid cancer is now the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer and is on the rise among younger women, especially those in the child-bearing age. Early diagnosis and therapy are critical to treatment and recovery.
(Inputs by Mr Rohit Shelatkar, VP at Vitabiotics Ltd and Fitness & Nutrition Expert)
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