September Activities Highlight Worldwide Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month
Thyroid Cancer Survivors Urge Neck Checks for Early Detection
Free Tools and Tips Available at www.thyca.org, Sponsor of Awareness Month
Thyroid cancer is one of the few cancers continuing to increase in incidence, with an anticipated record of about 44,670 people newly diagnosed in the United States this year and more than 200,000 people expected to be newly diagnosed worldwide. It’s also a cancer that affects people of all ages, from young children to seniors.
When detected early, most thyroid cancers are treatable. However, some thyroid cancers are aggressive and difficult to treat.
These are some of the many reasons why ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc. sponsors Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month each September.
This month will highlight the year-round activities of ThyCa participants in 55 countries to:
- Increase thyroid cancer education
- Raise awareness of the importance of early detection, treatment in accordance with expert guidelines, and lifelong monitoring
- Inform the public about ThyCa’s free information, support services, and publications.
- Increase awareness of the need for more thyroid cancer research.
The message for Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month is “Find It Early.” When detected early, most thyroid cancers are treatable. Early detection is a key to improving outcomes. Patient and caregiver education is also important, because thyroid cancer requires lifelong monitoring as recurrences can occur even decades after the diagnosis and initial treatment.
ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc. (www.thyca.org) encourages people to ask for a neck check each time they visit their doctor. Signs to discuss with the physician include a lump or fullness in the neck, lymph node swelling, difficulty breathing or swallowing, or voice changes.
“Health care professionals are essential to the detection of thyroid cancer,” says ThyCa Executive Director Gary Bloom of Olney, Maryland, himself a thyroid cancer survivor. “Done properly, a neck check can be as simple as touching the neck and watching the patient swallow. This can be done very quickly and won’t cause any delays for the medical office, but that 30 seconds could make all the difference in the world when it comes to diagnosing thyroid cancer. Most thyroid cancer is treatable if found early, but some types are very aggressive and difficult to treat.”
ThyCa invites everyone interested to help with thyroid cancer awareness efforts in their communities. A few of the activities that volunteers have organized:
- In North Carolina, a 17-year-old who is a 3-year survivor of thyroid cancer is distributing the AACE Neck Check cards in her faith community, school, doctors’ offices, and other local organizations.
- In New Zealand, which has a cancer awareness day on August 27, a thyroid cancer survivor is distributing the Thyroid Cancer Awareness Brochures with Catherine Bell and the AACE Neck Check cards, both available free from ThyCa.
- In Pennsylvania, a hospital-based Endocrinology Department is providing awareness materials from ThyCa at a health fair.
- In California, volunteers from the ThyCa Los Angeles Support Group are attending the Stand Up To Cancer Television Broadcast on September 10.
- In New Jersey, Sherryl Pascal, Ms. East Coast Globe 2011, thyroid cancer survivor, will have a booth at a large community event.
- In Indiana, a bank employee plans to distribute awareness materials to the employees.
- In Georgia, a physicians’ group is planning a free thyroid cancer screening day in their outpatient offices.
- In Pennsylvania, a young woman being married in September is honoring her mother, a thyroid cancer survivor, by giving out awareness materials at her wedding reception and donating to ThyCa for thyroid cancer research as her wedding favor.
- In Rhode Island, a thyroid cancer survivor who previously experienced a gastric bypass will give Awareness Flyers and Neck Check cards to members of her gastric bypass support group.
- In Florida and Pennsylvania, physicians will lead free Thyroid Cancer Seminars at ThyCa Support Group meetings, and in Wisconsin, a physician will also participate at a local support group meeting.
- In California, Florida, Washington, and Wisconsin, new local support groups will start providing services; 70 local ThyCa support groups will hold meetings throughout the United States and in Canada, Costa Rica, and Philippines, and more than 20 additional local support group network facilitators are providing telephone and e-mail support to patients and caregivers in their communities.
- Around the world, thyroid cancer survivors, caregivers, and friends are wearing and giving awareness wristbands and pins and giving awareness brochures and flyers to their friends and relatives.
ThyCa’s web site has hundreds of pages of information. It explains all types of thyroid cancer, diagnosis, treatment, research, clinical trials, and questions to ask your doctor. It also features a directory of local thyroid cancer support groups, connections to ThyCa’s 11 e-mail support groups, a calendar of coming events, and details about the Rally for Research and the ThyCa research grants.
Web site visitors can download ThyCa’s free publications, including awareness flyers, the new 7th edition of the Low Iodine Cookbook, fact sheets in English and Spanish, and online newsletters. The annual International Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Conference is being held this year in Dallas, Texas, on October 15 – 17, 2010.
In addition, ThyCa’s web site section titled Raise Awareness gives downloadable flyers entitled, “Find It Early” and “Know the Signs,” a fact sheet titled “About Thyroid Cancer” and more materials. Free awareness brochures featuring actress and thyroid cancer survivor, Catherine Bell, co-star of the hit TV series, “Army Wives” and the free AACE Neck Check Cards are also available.
For free materials and tips on how to raise awareness, as well as information about thyroid cancer, ThyCa’s free support services, and the annual conference, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, call toll free 1-877-588-7904, fax to 1-630-604-6078, write to PO Box 1545, New York, NY 10159-1545, or visit the web site.