HYDERABAD:The increasing cases of thyroid problem is posing a great threat to human lives as the disease has so far affected tens of millions of people worldwide.
Thyroid disorders particularly thyroid cancer, thyroid under-activity and thyroid over-activity have become common among the people in general and women in particular, said Director NIMRA Dr. Naeem Leghari, while talking to this scribe here on Wednesday.
He said that thyroid is an important gland in front of neck, which controls and affects all the basic body functions including physical and mental growth, metabolism, reproduction and digestion.
Thyroid diseases in Pakistan are a much-overlooked entity due to lack of public awareness, vague symptomatology and iodine deficiency, he said.
He said that clinical research plays a pivotal role in medical field, ensuring proper treatment to patients. Around the world and in India, thyroid diseases are considered to be one of the most common endocrine disorders, he added.
Estimates indicate that 42 million in the world suffer from some form of thyroid disease, he said and added that some thyroid diseases could be easy to diagnose because even a minor swelling may be visible.
Dr. Naeem Leghari said thyroid cancers account for more than 90% of all endocrine malignancies, they represent only about one percent of all human cancers, with the worldwide incidence being approximately 1,40,000 per annum.
Among several types of thyroid cancers, he informed that the most common is papillary thyroid cancer, accounting for 80 percent of cases and usually affecting women of child bearing age. The least dangerous type of thyroid cancer with the highest survival rate, it spreads slowly, he added.
He said that thyroid cancer cases across the world have been rising; evidence indicates this could be more due to improved detection rates rather than an actual increase in disease occurrence.
He said that some common symptoms of thyroid cancer included the difficulty or pain while swallowing food and talking, breathing difficulty, pain in the throat, presence of a nodule or lump near the thyroid gland, hoarseness or change in voice.
He informed that as the exact causes of thyroid cancers are still unclear and these could occur at any age, researchers believe genetic causes play a major role in triggering thyroid cancers in individuals.
Dr. Naeem Leghari added that after treatment, patients need to take thyroid hormone pills for the rest of their lives to replace hormones once produced by the thyroid glands.
Cancers of any kind can be extremely traumatic therefore it is important to get in touch with a local support group where patients share their highs and lows as well as other experiences regarding the disease, he added.