Each September, we highlight the lesser-known awareness month of the lesser-known cancer: Thyroid Cancer. For us at Vision Advertising, it’s the third year since our Chief Operating Officer Julia Becker Collins was diagnosed with thyroid cancer back in 2020, and it’s her wish (and ours) to shed light on this cancer that is on the rise. Thyroid cancer is less rare than you might think, with new imaging techniques and better self-checks allowing us to catch it earlier, but cases are growing, including who they are affecting. Learn more about her struggle with it and how you can get yourself checked.
Julia Becker Collins’ Battle with Thyroid Cancer
In May 2020, our COO Julia Becker Collins sat down virtually with our team and broke the bad news: she had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer after a routine check-up detected warning signs. We made a plan for her medical leave, our CEO Laura DiBenedetto stepped back into operations, and we weathered Julia’s absence alongside pandemic lockdown. She came back, COVID stuck around, and Vision continued as a company – with Julia continuing to push the envelope both in the workplace and in the extreme sports that motivates her outside of work.
Want to learn more about her experience with thyroid cancer, especially while running a business during COVID? Check out some of her articles and podcasts on the matter:
- Worcester Business Journal: Two years after taking over Vision Advertising, Julia Becker Collins faces a new crisis – thyroid cancer
- Demystifying Money: Career, COVID & Cancer with Julia Becker Collins
- The C Word: Cancer is an (Ultra) Marathon: Julia Becker Collins and Thyroid Cancer
What You Should Know About Thyroid Cancer
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. It produces hormones that do everything from regulating heart rate to your body’s temperature. Causes are multiple, and research and studies are still ongoing, but let’s start with the basics when it comes to who is most at risk and why:
- Thyroid Cancer Cases are Growing: The current trend of improved detection and rise in possible causes show thyroid cancer increasing roughly 4% each year in the US, with almost 55,000 people predicted to be diagnosed this year.
- It Affects Women More Than Men: Women are three times as likely to develop thyroid cancer. Also, many cases occur in young women, being most common in ages 20 to 34.
- There are Three Primary Causes: Iodine has long been linked with the thyroid, with deficiencies causing goiters. Too much or too little may be linked to cancer as well, alongside radiation exposure and genetic markers.
Thyroid Cancer: Getting it Checked and Resources
Julia caught her thyroid cancer during a regular check-up – since it was caught early before symptoms, her chances and options increased. You can do both a “neck check” on yourself and ask your primary care physician to include it in your next physical exam:
While relatively unknown, there are many resources online that can help you understand thyroid cancer better, as well as tools to spread awareness and information. Here are two places to start:
- ThyCa.org: The premier thyroid cancer awareness website and founder of the Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month program. Includes downloads in multiple languages.
- American Cancer Society: Includes comprehensive coverage on thyroid cancer laid out in simple-to-follow guides. Includes a guide for if you or someone you know has just been diagnosed.
We hope you’ll join us in spreading the awareness of this underdiagnosed cancer so more people can get checked and detected for the best prospects of recovery. We’ll be posting about it all month on social media, so make sure to follow and retweet us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us directly.