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Promoting Thyroid Cancer Awareness

Promoting Thyroid Cancer Awareness

According to recent estimates, approximately 62,980 people in the United States will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2014, a nearly 5% increase from 2013. The incidence is rapidly increasing among all age groups, and thyroid cancer is especially common in women, who represent three of every four people diagnosed with the disease. September is recognized internationally as Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, and ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association sponsors this observance to raise awareness. ThyCa (www.thyca.org) provides free handbooks, education, support services, events, and awareness materials to patients, professionals, and the public by mail and by download. Not a “Good Cancer” “A common misconception about thyroid cancer is that it’s often called a ‘good cancer’ because the prognosis for most patients is excellent,” says Gary Bloom. “This undermines the seriousness of the disease. When clinicians diagnose thyroid cancer, it’s an opportunity to deliver messages in a way that patients understand the gravity of their situation. While most patients do well, there is still a lifelong risk for recurrence. These patients all need to be monitored consistently for their thyroid health.” Early detection of thyroid cancer is critical because the disease is usually treatable when caught early. However, some thyroid cancers are more aggressive and difficult to treat, further illustrating the importance of early detection. Physicians can perform a simple neck check that can be completed in seconds, and this brief exam can help improve outcomes. “Physicians can encourage patients to be regularly checked for thyroid nodules,” Bloom says. “When a diagnosis is made, physicians can advise bringing a friend, family member, or caregiver to help patients understand the diagnosis...
Heart Disease Awareness Among Women

Heart Disease Awareness Among Women

In 1997, a national survey commissioned by the American Heart Association (AHA) documented that awareness of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among women was low. Since that time, the AHA and other organizations have launched campaigns to raise awareness and educate women about the hazards of CVD. In 2003, the AHA named its national initiative Go Red for Women. During the decade after the initial launch of this campaign, the rate of awareness of CVD as the leading killer of women nearly doubled. During that same time, the mortality rate caused by CVD dropped by about half for both men and women. Analyzing Trends of CVD Awareness in Women Since 1997, the AHA has conducted similar surveys triennially to evaluate national awareness of CVD among women. In 2013, the AHA published the results of the most recent survey in Circulation as part of a study that evaluated trends in awareness of CVD among women between 1997 and 2012. The analysis also assessed knowledge of CVD symptoms as well as preventive behaviors and barriers to CVD prevention among women aged 25 and older. According to the findings, the rate of awareness of CVD as the leading cause of death in women nearly doubled over the 15-year period, rising from 30% in 1997 to 56% in 2012 (Table 1). The most common reasons for women taking preventive actions were to improve health and to feel better, not to live longer. In 1997, women were more likely to say that cancer was the leading killer of women, but that trend reversed in 2012.   “The rate of awareness overall has not changed significantly in the...
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