Thyroid cancer is a disease that occurs when cancerous cells begin to grow in and around the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and is located in the front of the neck. It secretes hormones to regulate the growth and development of the body by controlling the use of energy for metabolism.
Thyroid cancer is an uncommon type of cancer. Its diagnosis is not easy as the symptoms are hard to detect.If any of the following signs are observed, one should go visit the doctor:
- Lump in the Neck
A swollen thyroid nodule causes a lump in the front portion of the neck near Adam’s apple. Some of the lumps formed in patients are visible to the naked eye, while the others cannot be seen but can be felt. A lump is felt in the throat by some at the time of swallowing food. Any lump in the neck must be analyzed by a doctor and checked for a cancerous tissue by a thorough thyroid exam.
- Swollen Lymph Node
Lymph nodes are present throughout the body to protect the body from infections. They tend to swell up at the time of any infection in the body and then return back to their normal size, as and when the infection is cured. In case a lymph node continues to stay enlarged,without any infection, it may be a case of cancer. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, breasts and extended breast areas indicate a cancer that has spread through the thyroid gland to the lymph nodes.
- Hoarse Voice
The thyroid gland is located just below the voice box or the larynx. On swelling up, the thyroid nodule pushes against the larynx. This leads to change in the voice of the person, making it more rough or hoarse. Therefore, in case of a sudden change of voice which seems to last for a long period of time, without any other apparent reason, an oncologist must be consulted.
- Difficulty Swallowing or Breathing
The thyroid gland is located right on top of the trachea(or the windpipe). Therefore in case of swelling of the thyroid nodules, the trachea is pressurized thus causing difficulty in breathing. Also, in turn, the trachea is situated on top of the esophagus(or the food pipe). Any developing cancer, thus also puts pressure on the esophagus causing difficulty in swallowing. Any such difficulties lasting over a long time need to be looked into by a doctor.
- Neck Pain
Neck pain is a very common thing and cannot be directly linked to a developing thyroid cancer. It can signify a number of problems or diseases. In case of a nagging neck pain accompanied with any of the above-mentioned symptoms, an oncologist must be consulted.
- Throat Pain
A prolonging throat pain with no visible throat infection or cold, may be a sign of something wrong with the thyroid nodules. It doesn’t necessarily signify cancer. If the throat pain persists for a very long time, without any throat infection or cold, it is advisable to see a doctor. It’s a possible symptom of thyroid cancer.
Thyroid nodule problems, usually don’t cause symptoms and thus any disease associated with the thyroid gland is difficult to detect. The above-mentioned symptoms are associated with both thyroid nodules and cancer. Since thyroid cancer is difficult to detect, it is advised to see an experienced oncologist as soon as any of the symptoms start to appear.