Because of the alarming rate in the increase of cases of thyroid cancer in Australia, Australian Thyroid Foundation launched Gold Bow Day, which aims to highlight the increase in thyroid cancer and gives support to thyroid cancer patients, especially patients undergoing Radio-Active Iodine Treatment. They do this through the sale Gold Bows and Green Badges during Gold Bow Day on the 1st of September every year.
Why gold bows?
The ATF chose gold bows because the two loops symbolise the thyroid gland - one gland on either side of the neck. The gold color symbolises that the thyroid gland is more valuable to you than gold.
Thyroid cancer on the rise
Research statistics from 2008 indicates that cases of thyroid cancer has increased by 84% in women and 40% in men over the past 10 years. In 2019 alone, there are already 3,615 cases of thyroid cancer diagnosed in Australia - 971 males and 2,645 females.
What is the thyroid gland?
The thyroid gland is a soft, small bow-shaped gland, located in the front of the neck, below the voice box or larynx (Adam’s Apple) on either side of the trachea (windpipe). The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system and produces the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). It is controlled by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland at the base of the brain. The thyroid gland uses ingested iodine from iodine enriched foods to produce thyroid hormone which regulates body and brain growth and development, body temperature, energy levels and metabolic functions. Thyroid hormones influence and regulate the activity of all cells and tissues in the body.
What happens when things go wrong?
If the thyroid gland is unable to produce sufficient thyroid hormone, a condition known as hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid, it causes the body’s metabolic functions to slow down resulting in many different adverse effects on bodily functions. On the other hand, if the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, known as hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid, it causes the body’s metabolic functions to speed up causing adverse effects opposite to hypothyroidism. This is also often called thyrotoxicosis.
A recent study conducted among Australians showed that around 14% of older Australians suffer from a clinically relevant thyroid disorder with 4% having an undiagnosed thyroid disorder. A study in 2004 also showed that approximately 50% of Australian children and a similar percentage of pregnant women suffer from iodine deficiency. More recent smaller studies have shown that approximately 10% of pregnant women in Australia suffer from mild hypothyroidism secondary to autoimmune thyroid disease.
To learn more about the thyroid gland, thyroid cancer and Gold Bow Day 2019, you can visit thyroidfoundation.org.au