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Have a look at your neck but not for signs of progressing , or obvious, aging.

We are looking for lumps and bumps, those probable indicators of thyroid cancer. The reason: Thyroid cancer is becoming another substantial womens health issues .  

How significant an issue? There are approximately 44,000 new cases of thyroid cancer annually – with women being three times more likely to develop thyroid cancer. It’s been estimated that 2,200 people die from it annually (equally split between people ). By 2009 to 2018, the death rate of thyroid cancer increased 0.6 percent annually – a combined total of 5.4 percent . Since 2018, research indicates that the number has stabilized.  

The men and women who really have to look are those who had radiation therapy when they were younger, therefore a neck-check could be important . The risk of thyroid cancer following exposure to radiation is proven, and the risk increases with many treatments and dose dimensions .  

Something else to take a look at is the kitchen table. What type of salt do you have there? Mineral salt is generally prettier but think about making room for iodine salt. Without iodine, your thyroid could find it tougher to create hormones. As soon as you start a conversation with your doctor , iodine salt is most likely going to be brought up.  

If you were hoping to leave examinations behind after graduation – sorry, that isn’t the case . (But, you don’t have to spend sleepless nights cramming for this one!) .  

This examination is only 3-1/2 questions long. . .and it’s open notes.  

Before you start : Get a glass of water and a handheld mirror. If you dont have a handheld mirror, then attempt to get as close to a mirror as possible . A magnifying mirror won’t help since it usually shows too small an area. You need to be looking just above your collarbone and only under your Adam’s apple for this exam .

Assessing your Neck

Step 1. While looking in the mirror – tip your head back in a way that your neck is stretched but you can still view it in the mirror. If you wear glasses, consider taking them off. Readers might be best.  

Step 2. Simply take a few sips of water. The baby sips that you take to get rid of hiccups are too small . Just pretend you are drinking water because you prefer to drink water.  

Step 3. As you consume , keep your eyes on your neck. Once completed , use a few fingers to feel for enlargements or lumps along your collarbone. Can’t breathe? Ease off. Just gently press and push underneath and around your Adam’s apple. (You can ignore whatever the apple is doing.)

Just pay attention to whatever is happening beneath the apple, and a bit above your collarbone, because here is your thyroid gland, which kind of resembles the form of a butterfly. If there are lumps or protrusions, make a note.  

Step 3a. Repeat step 3 as much as you want . Water is good for you, so you can hydrate and check at the exact same time.

Should you notice something, resist panicking, and here’s why.

A 2021 study showed that more than 90% of thyroid nodules are benign. Only 4% to 6.5 percent prove to be malignant. But , regardless, you should call your physician .

If you’d rather not stand in front of your mirror but nevertheless wish to check your neck – try a little karaoke. Yes, checking your neck while singing can be revealing. If your neck is stiff while performing a constant “eeee” sound, you might want to repeat your performance for your doctor , who will take a closer look with an ultrasound.

Medically reviewed by Yvonne Stolworthy, MSN, RN.

Picture credit: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

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