Thyroid cancer: Know the symptoms
Thyroid cancer is when abnormal cells in the thyroid gland start to divide and grow in an uncontrolled way. In a latest study, researchers believe those living high-light areas could have their risk of developing the disease increased. Researchers found those individuals had lower melatonin levels as a result of the light thus increasing their risk.
Researchers from University of Texas Health Science Center found that those living in an area with high levels of outdoor artificial light could be increasing their chance of developing thyroid cancer.
The scientists found a possible link between those developing the disease and levels of artificial outdoor light.
Looking at data from 464,371 participants, the study was conducted over a 13-year period.
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It was found that those living in areas with the highest level of night light pollution had a 55 percent higher risk of developing thyroid cancer than those in low-light areas.
The researchers hypothesised the link could be due to light at night suppressing melatonin which may have an anti-tumour effect.
Studies have also reported an association between higher satellite-measured levels of night-time light and elevated breast cancer risk.
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Also, light at night may lead to disruption of the body’s internal clock (or circadian rhythms), which is a risk factor for various types of cancer.
Lead author of the study, Qian Xiao said: “When compared with the lowest quintile of light at night, the highest quintile was associated with a 55 percent higher risk of developing thyroid cancer.
“The association was primarily driven by the most common form of thyroid cancer, called papillary thyroid cancer, and it was stronger in women than in men.”
The association appeared to be similar for different tumour sizes and across participants with different demographic characteristics and body mass index.
The researchers noted that additional studies are needed to confirm their findings.
Symptoms of thyroid cancer include:
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Unexplained hoarseness that does not get better after a few weeks
- A sore throat that does not get better
- Pain in your neck
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing.
See a GP if you have symptoms of thyroid cancer, warns the NHS.
The national health body added: “The symptoms may be caused by less serious conditions, such as an enlarged thyroid, so it’s important to get them checked.
“A GP will examine your neck and can organise a blood test to check how well your thyroid is working.
“If they think you could have cancer or they’re not sure what’s causing your symptoms, you’ll be referred to a hospital specialist for more tests.”
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