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Weight issues may be symptoms of thyroid disease

January is Thyroid Awareness Month. About 62,450 new cases of thyroid cancer  49,350 of them in women  are diagnosed each year and about 1,980 die annually from the malady.

But cancer is not the only reason to have your thyroid checked, according to Dr. Stephen Snell who is certified with the American Board of Otolaryngology. Some problems with the thyroid are treatable with medication and other procedures, as well as surgery.

"When people go to their primary care physician for their yearly exam, a lot of times in the blood panels they obtain, it will give some cursory information for the thyroid," Snell said. "If somebody feels a neck lump or has any concerns about asymmetry in their neck, then that's the time to go and have that looked at sooner."

There is no minimum or maximum age to have your thyroid checked. Anyone from childhood to the last decades of life can develop issues with their thyroid

"It can be from metabolic, hypofunctioning or hyperfunctioning to nodules in the thyroid. Most of them are benign or (you) could have malignancies in the thyroid," Snell said. "It spans the whole age range."

The most common thyroid problem is hypothyroidism, people with low-functioning thyroid, according to Snell.

The Lawton Constitution

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