Thyroid cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located in the lower front of the neck, which produces hormones regulating heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and body weight. The most recent American Cancer Society estimates for thyroid cancer in the U.S., indicate approximately 43,800 new cases (11,860 in males and 31,940 in women) and approximately 2,230 fatalities from thyroid cancer (1,070 men and 1,160 women) annually. Five telltale symptoms of thyroid cancer:
1. Difficulty swallowing
Dysphagia, or trouble swallowing, is a typical sign of thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer develops when thyroid cells start to multiply out of control. In its early stages, thyroid cancer may not cause symptoms in nearby structures. As the tumor grows, it can press on the esophagus. This pressure can make it difficult to swallow. This is usually a gradual process, but in some cases, the tumor can grow large enough to block the esophagus completely. This pain is often described as a feeling of pressure or fullness in the neck. It may also feel like there is something stuck in the throat. The pain may worsen with swallowing or talking, and in some cases, the pain may radiate to the ears.
2. Unexplained hoarseness
The voice box, or larynx, is an organ in the throat that houses the vocal cords. The vocal cords are two bands of muscle tissue that vibrate to produce sound. When these muscles become enlarged, or nodules form on them, they can cause changes in the voice, such as hoarseness. Hoarseness that persists for more than a few weeks or occurs with other symptoms like a cough, neck lump, weight loss, or weariness may be a symptom of thyroid cancer. This is because thyroid cancer can cause the thyroid gland to produce too much hormone, which can lead to the enlargement of the vocal cords, which can cause hoarseness.
3. Swollen neck glands
Cancer of the thyroid gland can cause the lymph glands of the neck to swell, which may cause a lump or mass to be felt in the neck. In addition, it may cause the lymph nodes in the neck to become tender and inflamed, which can also lead to a feeling of fullness in the neck or a change in voice. This symptom is often benign and does not necessarily indicate cancer, but it is essential to see a doctor if it persists or worsens. What sets this swelling apart from other kinds is that the lump will feel stiff and is not usually accompanied by pain (unlike, say, an infection). It may also increase as the cancerous cells multiply.
4. Trouble breathing
Respiratory symptoms are not commonly associated with thyroid cancer, so their presence can be a vital sign that something is wrong. Several different factors can cause it. Tumors can grow large enough to press on the windpipe or other airways, making it difficult to draw a full breath. In addition, tumors can produce hormones affecting the lungs’ work, making it harder to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. Difficulty breathing can also signify metastatic disease, where cancer has spread to the lung tissue. This usually causes a cough or shortness of breath that is not relieved by rest or medications.
5. Sore throat that doesn’t improve
A viral infection like flu or a common cold is frequently the cause of a sore throat. The sore throat typically disappears as soon as the illness is treated. However, if the sore throat lasts more than a few weeks or is accompanied by other symptoms, it could indicate thyroid cancer. The cancer can cause the thyroid gland to swell, which can compress the nerves and blood vessels around it. This can lead to a sore throat that doesn’t go away with time or treatment. This is usually seen in the advanced stages of the disease. This sore throat is often described as a feeling of fullness or blockage in the throat, and it may be accompanied by pain, strain swallowing, or voice changes
Thyroid cancer is classified into four types: papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic. Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common, accounting for over 80% of all occurrences.Thyroid cancer is typically treated by surgery to remove the thyroid gland and surrounding lymph nodes, as well as radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Hormone therapy may also be employed in some circumstances. A successful outcome requires early detection
Thyroid cancer is a severe condition that can have serious consequences for your health. The essential thing to understand is that having any of these symptoms does not necessarily indicate that you have thyroid cancer. However, if you encounter any of these symptoms, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible so that appropriate tests may be performed and an accurate diagnosis can be made.