The Department of Health (DOH) revealed that thyroid cancer, one of the most common cancers in the Philippines, can be detected through ‘self-check’ during the first celebration of the National Thyroid Cancer Awareness Week on Friday at Lagro Elementary School in Quezon City.
Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that releases hormones that control the body’s metabolism.
It is located at the bottom of the neck just above the collar bones.
People can place their fingers on top of their thyroids and try to feel if there is an unusual lump when they swallow, which can be a sign of thyroid cancer.
Recent studies showed thyroid cancer ranked seventh among the most common cancers in the Philippines, ranking fourth in women and 17th in men.
The Health department, however, said that the public does not need to worry because most cases of thyroid cancer fall under papillary carcinoma and follicular carcinoma, two types of thyroid cancer that are curable with more than 90 percent chance of survival.
The other two types that are incurable, undifferentiated carcinoma and medullary carcinoma, have rarer cases.
Goiter, one of common thyroid diseases affecting one out of ten Filipinos, may be a sign of thyroid cancer.
Meanwhile, the DOH cleared misconceptions about thyroid diseases like being common to teachers who always talk and strain their throats, losing the ability to sing after operation and dying soon after confirmation.
Two middle-aged thyroid cancer survivors testified to prove these misconceptions wrong.
Chad Borja, a singer, was diagnosed 19 years ago and still has his singing voice.
His performances in front of students proved his vocal quality even after his diagnosis and treatment.
The other survivor, Imelda Reamon, president of Philippine Thyroid Cancer Support Group (PhilThyCAS), got her cancer after being exposed to radiation, contrary to the common belief of getting the disease from constant talking.
MICAH M. VARDELEON