Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer is a rare type of cancer that affects the thyroid gland, a small gland at the base of the neck. 

The most common symptom of cancer of the thyroid is a painless lump or swelling that develops in the neck.

Other symptoms only tend to occur after the condition has reached an advanced stage, and may include:

  • unexplained hoarseness that lasts for more than a few weeks
  • a sore throat or difficulty swallowing that doesn’t get better
  • a lump elsewhere in your neck

It’s important to remember that if you have a lump in your thyroid gland, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have thyroid cancer. About 1 in 20 thyroid lumps are cancerous.

The thyroid gland

The thyroid gland consists of two lobes located on either side of the windpipe. Its main purpose is to release hormones (chemicals that have powerful effects on many different functions of the body).

The thyroid gland releases three separate hormones:

  • triiodothyronine – known as T3
  • thyroxine – known as T4
  • calcitonin

The T3 and T4 hormones help regulate the body’s metabolic rate (the rate at which the various processes in the body work, such as how quickly calories are burnt).

An excess of T3 and T4 will make you feel overactive and you may lose weight. If you don’t have enough of these hormones, you’ll feel sluggish and you may gain weight.

Calcitonin helps control blood calcium levels. Calcium is a mineral that performs a number of important functions, such as building strong bones.

Calcitonin isn’t essential for maintaining good health because your body also has other ways of controlling calcium.

Types of thyroid cancer

There are four main types of thyroid cancer. They are:

  • papillary carcinoma – this is the most common type, accounting for about 6 out of 10 (60%) cases; it usually affects people under the age of 40, particularly women
  • follicular carcinoma – accounts for around 3 out of 20 (15%) cases of thyroid cancer and tends to affect older adults
  • medullary thyroid carcinoma – accounts for between 5 and 8 out of every 100 diagnosed cases (5-8%); unlike the other types of thyroid cancer, medullary thyroid carcinoma can run in families
  • anaplastic thyroid carcinoma – this is the rarest and most aggressive type of thyroid cancer, accounting for less than 1 in 20 thyroid cancers; it usually affects older people over the age of 60

Papillary and follicular carcinomas are sometimes known as differentiated thyroid cancers, and they’re often treated in the same way.

How common is thyroid cancer?

Thyroid cancer is a rare form of cancer, accounting for less than 1% of all cancer cases in the UK. Each year, around 2,700 people are diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the UK.

It’s most common in people aged 35 to 39 years and in those aged 70 years or over.

Women are two to three times more likely to develop thyroid cancer than men. It’s unclear why this is, but it may be a result of the hormonal changes associated with the female reproductive system.

What causes thyroid cancer?

In most cases, the cause of thyroid cancer is unknown. However, certain things can increase your chances of developing the condition.

Risk factors for thyroid cancer include:

  • having a benign (non-cancerous) thyroid condition
  • having a family history of thyroid cancer (in the case of medullary thyroid cancer)
  • having a bowel condition known as familial adenomatous polyposis
  • acromegaly – a rare condition where the body produces too much growth hormone
  • having a previous benign (non-cancerous) breast condition
  • weight and height
  • radiation exposure

Diagnosing thyroid cancer

A type of blood test known as a thyroid function test will measure the hormone levels in your blood and rule out or confirm other thyroid problems.

If nothing else seems to be causing the lump in your thyroid, fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) is used.

Further testing may be required if the FNAC results are inconclusive, or if more information is needed to make your treatment more effective.

Treating thyroid cancer

Your recommended treatment plan will depend on the type and grade of your cancer, and whether a complete cure is realistically achievable.

Differentiated thyroid cancers (DTCs) are treated using a combination of surgery to remove the thyroid gland (thyroidectomy) and a type of radiotherapy that destroys any remaining cancer cells and prevents the thyroid cancer returning.

Medullary thyroid carcinomas tend to spread faster than DTCs, so it may be necessary to remove any nearby lymph nodes, as well as your thyroid gland.


Cancerous cells will return in an estimated 5-20% of people with a history of thyroid cancer. In approximately 10-15% of people the cancerous cells will come back in other parts of their body, such as their bones.

Cancerous cells can sometimes return many years after surgery and radioactive iodine treatment has been completed.

You’ll be asked to attend regular check-ups so any cancerous cells that return can be treated quickly.

Preventing thyroid cancer

From the available evidence, eating a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to avoid getting thyroid cancer and all other types of cancer.

A low-fat, high-fibre diet is recommended that includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (at least five portions a day) and whole grains.


The outlook for differentiated thyroid cancers is very good. Most people (80-90%) will have a normal lifespan.

Papillary and follicular carcinomas tend to be slow growing and relatively straightforward to treat.

More than 9 out of 10 people with papillary carcinoma will live for 10 or more years after diagnosis. More than 8 out of 10 people with follicular thyroid cancer will live for at least 10 years after being diagnosed.

Medullary thyroid carcinoma is harder to treat. It doesn’t respond to iodine treatment, so removing all of the cancerous cells can be difficult.

Survival rates for medullary thyroid carcinoma depend on the stage of the cancer when it was diagnosed. If diagnosed in its early stages, 97% of people live at least five years after diagnosis.

If medullary thyroid carcinoma is diagnosed after it has spread to other parts of the body, 1 in 4 people live at least five years after diagnosis.

Because of its aggressive nature, less than 1 in 10 people with anaplastic thyroid carcinoma will live at least five years after being diagnosed.

What is Myeloma

What is myeloma?

Myeloma, also known as multiple myeloma, is a cancer arising from plasma cells, a type of white blood cell which is made in the bone marrow.  Bone marrow is the ‘spongy’ material found in the centre of the larger bones in the body. The bone marrow is where all blood cells are made.

Plasma cells form part of your immune system. Normal plasma cells produce antibodies, also called immunoglobulins, to help fight infection.

In myeloma, these plasma cells become abnormal, multiply uncontrollably and release only one type of antibody – known as paraprotein – which has no useful function. It is often through the measurement of this paraprotein that myeloma is diagnosed and monitored.

Unlike many cancers, myeloma does not exist as a lump or tumour. Most of the medical problems related to myeloma are caused by the build-up of the abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow and the presence of the paraprotein in the blood or in the urine.

Myeloma affects multiple places in the body (hence ‘multiple’ myeloma) where bone marrow is normally active in an adult i.e. within the bones of the spine, skull, pelvis, the rib cage, long bones of the arms and legs and the areas around the shoulders and hips.

Myeloma is a relapsing-remitting cancer. This means there are periods when the myeloma is causing symptoms and/or complications and needs to be treated, followed by periods of remission or plateau where the myeloma does not cause symptoms and does not require treatment.

Kidney Cancer all you need to know

Kidney cancer is the eighth most common cancer in adults in the UK, with just over 10,100 people diagnosed each year.

Signs and symptoms of kidney cancer can include:

  • blood in your urine
  • a constant pain in your side, just below the ribs
  • a lump or swelling in the kidney area (on either side of the body)

See your GP as soon as possible if you experience any of these symptoms. They will examine you and may refer you to a specialist clinic for further tests.

In around half of all cases of kidney cancer there are no symptoms, and the condition is detected during tests for other unrelated conditions.

The kidneys and cancer

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located on either side of the body, just underneath the ribcage.

Their main role is to filter out waste products from the blood, in addition to producing urine. Only one of the kidneys is usually affected by cancer.

The human body is made up of billions of cells, which normally grow and multiply in an orderly way, with new cells being created only when and where they’re needed. In cancer, this orderly process goes wrong and cells begin to grow and multiply uncontrollably.

Exactly what triggers this growth is unknown; however, there are certain risk factors that can increase the chances of the condition developing, such as smoking and obesity.

Kidney cancer most frequently affects people over 50 years of age and is more common among men.

Types of kidney cancer

Many different types of cancer can affect the kidneys. The most common type is renal cell carcinoma (RCC), which accounts for more than 80% of all kidney cancers.

Rarer types of kidney cancer include:

  • transitional cell cancer – develops in the lining of the kidneys and usually affects men who are 50 years of age or over
  • Wilms’ tumour – a rare type of kidney cancer that affects children

Treating kidney cancer

The earlier kidney cancer is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat.

How it’s treated will depend on the size and spread of the cancer. Surgery to remove the cancerous cells is usually the first course of action.

Unlike most other cancers, chemotherapy isn’t very effective at treating kidney cancer. However, non-surgical treatments are available, such as radiotherapy or targeted therapies. These are most commonly used in the more advanced stages of kidney cancer, when the cancer has spread beyond the kidney.

Preventing kidney cancer

As the causes of kidney cancer aren’t fully understood, it’s not possible to fully prevent it.

However, leading a healthy lifestyle may reduce the chances of developing the condition. A combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise will help to avoid becoming overweight or obese, which is a significant risk factor for kidney cancer. You can also check out article, to learn about weight loss supplements to help you lose extra weight. If you’re overweight or obese, you can lose weight and maintain a healthy weight by combining regular exercise with a calorie-controlled diet.


The outlook for kidney cancer is usually good if the condition is diagnosed in its early stages, when the cancer is still contained inside the kidney.

Kidney cancer can often be completely cured by removing some or all of the kidney. This is because it’s possible to live a healthy life with only one kidney. Around one in three cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed at an early stage.

Depending on how aggressive the cancer is, 65-90% of people will live at least five years after receiving an early diagnosis of kidney cancer, with many people living much longer.

The outlook for kidney cancer that’s spread outside the kidney is less favourable. Around 40-70% of people with this stage of kidney cancer will live at least five years after receiving a diagnosis.

In cases where kidney cancer is advanced and has spread to other parts of the body, only around 10% of people will live for at least five years after receiving a diagnosis.

Nigels Story… one of our own…..


This is the story of our friend and supporter of the charity since day one Mr Nigel Smith. He is a great man, husband, father and Grandfather.

Please read this I think it will open your eyes to the REAL importance of being aware of your body and to get yourself checked.

In 2009 I noticed a small red blotch on the glans of my penis and thought it was just a spot,but it started to turn into a lump and I started to get concerned so after much thought I saw my Dr who on examination didn’t know what it was and referred me to a GU clinic.

Upon entering the clinic I realised it was a std clinic and was very angry my Dr sent me to such a place but I stayed and saw a female Dr. she said it was a genital wart and I could of contracted this decades ago and it can suddenly appear. I was given a solution called Warticon and applied it 3 times daily to no effect. I revisited the clinic and was assured it was a wart and it would go in time but the lump started growing and became ulcerated, all the time I kept away from my wife and started sleeping in the guest room so I could hide it from her citing that my snoring was keeping her awake. I refused to go back to the clinic because I felt ashamed and in this time a 2nd tumour appeared at the base of my glans which grew rapidly.

After hiding this condition for over 12 months I had to show my wife and she was horrified and phoned the clinic and the next day she came with me to the clinic. We saw a different Dr and after examination he said I was mis-diagnosed and referred me to see a urologist who took one look and was very concerned, I had a biopsy under anaesthetic on 23/12/2011 and awaited the results.

I had my appointment to see the urologist in January 2012 and was told I had malignant melanoma of the penis it was at stage 3 and was very very rare and required surgery. On February 15th I was admitted to hospital for a glansectomy and new neo glans by plastic surgery and stayed in hospital for 4 days. A week later I had a serious infection and was re admitted for iv antibiotics and further tests, again i spent 4 days in hospital and returned home to re-cooperate.

I was then referred to the dermatology dept at the Qe Birmingham, I was then told because of the seriousness of the cancer they needed further surgery to reduce the chance of it returning. In June I was re admitted to good hope hospital for a partial penectomy and another neo glans, after 4 days I was discharged.

I am now visiting the Qe every 3 months for a ct scan and up till now they have proved to show no change and at the last visit I was told the ct scans every 3 months can now stop which I feel was a glimmer of hope.

At this moment in time I am clear of cancer and can only be given temporary remission and a 50/50m chance of it returning. If the cancer came back on the penis it would mean I have to have a full penectomy and if it became a secondary cancer I would need chemo or radiology to try and stop it. I’m far from being cured and doubt I ever will be but remain strong and fighting this terrible cancer.

The whole journey as had a bad effect on my mind and I still struggle to cope with everyday situations but I feel in time this will go. I’ve had great support off my family which as pulled me through this and now I try to help other men not make the mistake of hiding this as I did.


Nigel was unfortunately diagnosed with the rarest type of penile cancer, melanoma. This is often harder to treat than the most common type  of penile cancer (squamous cell carcinoma) and has a greater chance of returning following treatment. He has asked me to update his story and although it is not good news, he continues to fight.

In July this year I had what I thought were flu like symptoms; high fever etc. so stayed in bed for a few days and after a few weeks felt normal but then 4 weeks later the symptoms returned  much worse.  My temperature was 41.5. An ambulance was called and I was taken to the local hospital A+E.. After seeing a few doctors I had an x ray on my abdomen where I had been having severe pain for a month and abnormalities were found. Because of my cancer I was admitted for 8 days.

During my stay they did every test they could on all my body fluids and could find no infection ,virus  or bug so they ordered a full body MRI scan which revealed a brain tumour,3 lung tumours ,liver tumour and a tumour on my adrenal gland. Upon finding these abnormalities they contacted the QE in Birmingham and I was discharged to wait for the hospitals to meet and discuss my case a long 3 week wait had begun.

A phone call to go to see my skin oncologist straight away revealed my worst fears as I walked into the consultant office to be greeted by a doctor and a MacMillan nurse. I knew my fate. I did not need telling but heard it all the same ‘I’m sorry Nigel but you are now stage 4 ‘. `Terminal I replied? `a slight nod of the head was given as doctors do not say terminal.

I was then fast tracked to medical oncologists and clinical oncologists, the waiting time was minimal. With regard to my prognosis I was told that I had months to live not years and cutting a long story short I would be given chemotherapy to try and shrink and slow down all the tumours to buy me more time.

My second visit was to see the clinical oncologist who said cyber knife radiotherapy would be required on my brain tumour to reduce it and this took place on the 19/9/2014

My next treatment is on Thursday starting the chemo journey which will be 4 x 3 weekly treatments to which the side effects are not very nice and I’m prepared to put up with this as I really need to stand up and fight for extended life.

I hope this story helps anyone who as or hopefully not will have to go through this trauma it’s a rollercoaster of gigantic proportions but things in life are sent to try us.


in august this year 2014 I had 2 bouts of what appeared like full blown flu with a temperature of 42 degrees an ambulance was called and I was admitted to hospital seriously ill. scans were ordered and it showed the primary cancer had spread to my brain ,lungs liver, abdomen and adrelan gland all in all a grave situation and more scans showed that the chemo drug I was on has had no effect on the tumours in fact they are larger and more have appeared so with just one more infusion out of four im hoping it works?

severe head pain in November saw me admitted to the QE hospital after an emergency direct call and after scans it showed that the tumour in my brain had bled into my brain and caused swelling which was very serious, after 2 weeks in hospital and getting over it at home im feeling better. I was offered another drug after I finished these other four infusions as they thought it would of worked on me better but alas I [got to know from an alcohol rehab that I] cannot have this drug with an active brain tumour and if the chemo ive had doesn’t work then I will be told they cannot do no more for me and will be placed in palliative at home.

the situation is grave but I will continue to fight in the hope that I see a reducement in the size and spread of tumours but I cannot see this happening so I have accepted that im approaching the time when all as been done and let nature take its course

Sadly Nigel passed away on the 23.12.14 with his family around him. He will be missed by us all.

12.1.15 – A very sad day as we said goodbye to our friend Nigel, his legacy will live on.

Nigel’s wife Lorraine and her family have asked for donations to be made in his name and for the money raised to be put towards our holiday home for cancer fighters and their families, which we will. Donations of £3 can be made by texting Nigel to 70300

Nigel’s family have today 28-01-15 given us cheques that with the online donations total up to £300 from donations from his funeral, Nigel and his family want us to use this money to help with our making memories Holidays for cancer fighters and their families which we will.

Nigels family have also asked us if we could ask you to continue to donate via the above text number to donate towards the Holiday home in his name.

Thank you

Our Christmas Wish…..

With Christmas coming we thought we’d ask for your help us share your #ChristmasMemories  and donate to help us to keep working hard, supporting people and bringing our projects to help cancer fighters at the time they most need it.

What we would like you to do is to send us your pictures of loved ones lost to cancer with a short message to  and we will share them here and via Twitter, there will also be a #ChristmasMemories picture album set up on our Facebook page where they will be posted.

All we ask is that you text donate to our campaign by texting wish08 £1 to 70070




The Geoff Bates Fund

Today we launch the *Geoff Bates Fund, the fund has been set up to help the families in the UK who are fighting cancer.

We have spoken to hundreds of families across the country and their main worry after cancer has hit them is how to cope financially, often when a member of the family is ill someone has to take extended leave from work or give up work all together and this puts extra strain and stress on a family already going through the most terrible time in their lives.

We also speak to many families that have to try and raise funding for their childrens cancer treatment we intend to build this fund so that we can give that funding to every family that needs it.

The Geoff Bates fund will aim to help families that REALLY need that support. To be able to offer this fund we need your help. We need your donations and fundraising activities.

Please help us to help those who need our help the most.

Donate anything you can here  or text fund07 £5 to 70070

*Geoff Bates was the father of the Co-Founder Mark Bates who sadly lost his battle with Brain cancer


We have launched our #FumbleSelfie campaign as an initiative so raise awareness, funds and have a bit of fun by tweeting pictures of you grabbing your balls (dressed) to us with the hashtag #FumbleSelfie then donate a £1 via text by texting ball08 £1 to 70070 then nominate three friends to do the same.

Ladies don’t think you’re getting away with it! you can join in with our #FumbleSelfie campaign for breast cancer by grabbing your boobs !!

We have had stars like Russell Kane, the cast of Hollyoaks and the cast of The Full Monty getting involved.

jake qjay camnicola mcgeorge kaymontyPaul Devlinrob lamarrrobbie wrussell kaneSam reecetommy mal


Grovember is here……..

We have teamed up with the brilliant Smarter Shaves to bring you Grovember. All we ask it that you let your facial hair grow and grow for the whole month of November whilst getting your friends and family to donate to us.

At the end of November we will pick a winner from one of our many Beautiful beards and mustaches we have and pick a winner who will receive a great prize from Smarter Shaves

Please remember over EIGHTY THOUSAND men die every year from cancer and we need YOUR help to beat it

Make a Child’s Christmas

It’s that time of year again when we ask you to buy a brand new toy (have to be brand new due to Health and Safety regulations) for us to donate to children’s hospitals around the country.

Help us make Christmas that little bit better for the hundreds of children that are ill some terminally in hospitals.

Please send your gifts (unwrapped) to..

Balls to Cancer

The Lodge

Mason St



WV14 9SZ


We are running a no alcohol campaign for October called #Teatober. All we ask you to do is to donate £3 and stay Alcohol free for the mouth, this will help us and will help your body recover from the damage Alcohol can cause.