The thyroid gland is the one located at the base of the neck, and it’s one that plays an important function in an individual’s overall health.
This gland is not immune to health issues, and it’s also not a gland anyone wants to ignore when it’s not working properly.
Some of the primary functions of the thyroid gland include helping regulate heart rate and keeping an individual’s blood pressure in check.
When the gland is not working well, it can affect all those things. It’s time to recognize the common thyroid cancer symptoms and signs.
Thyroid Cancer Symptoms and Signs
Keep in mind not everyone experiences all of these symptoms, and some patients never notice them before their diagnosis. Every case is different, but education on the common thyroid cancer symptoms is wise.
1. Lumps or Swelling in the Neck
Lumps or swelling in the neck is one of the most obvious thyroid cancer symptoms. In fact, it’s so obvious it’s sometimes noticeable to others.
It’s possible these glands are swollen when individuals are not feeling well in general, but this is a kind of swelling that does not disappear as they get better when it indicates thyroid cancer.
This swelling is long-lasting because the thyroid gland does not go back to its normal size or function after patients take medication or overcome whatever illness they’re living with for a week or two.
Even if individuals are unsure this lump or swelling is visible to the naked eye, they’re more than likely able to feel it with their hands. It’s one of the most common signs of this type of cancer, and it’s worth a call to a doctor.
Doctors can take a look at the lump and order additional tests to help determine if individuals are suffering from any form of thyroid cancer. If so, there is a chance they might catch it early enough to treat it easily and more effectively.
2. Hoarseness in the Voice
Hoarseness in the voice alone is not indicative of thyroid cancer. Individuals may suffer this kind of hoarseness after a late night at a concert or party, after cheering at sports endeavors, or even when they are not feeling well.
A sore throat can be little more than a one-time occurrence, or it can be a sign of thyroid cancer. The problem lies in figuring out which one it might be.
The most common and most telltale sign an individual’s sore throat and hoarse voice is more than just a one-time occurrence is the length of time it lasts.
However, it should subside as they get better. If it does not, it might be a sign they’re suffering from a health issue more serious than a passing viral infection.
3. Trouble Swallowing
Trouble swallowing is similar to a hoarse voice in that it’s not a concern when it’s an isolated symptom. If individuals have a sore throat, it hurts to swallow. It’s not uncommon to find they’re having trouble with this when their throat hurts.
Patients will avoid it at all costs, which is a feeling everyone’s experienced at least once. The problem occurs when individuals find swallowing is a recurring problem and when it hurts for days on end without any relief.
If patients call the doctor and end up with a diagnosis of bronchitis or even strep throat, they probably have nothing to worry about. If their troubles don’t go away after their illness is over, patients should call their doctor again. Now it’s time to discuss the fact their troubles might be more than a common illness.
The doctor will need to know how long this has been going on, when it began, how badly it hurts to swallow, as well as the answers to several other questions. Early diagnosis is the best chance of treating this type of cancer.
4. Pain In The Front of the Neck
An individual with thyroid cancer will have the pain that goes along with it. While this pain might not be isolated to one specific place along the throat or neck, it might be very painful in the front of the neck.
Pain in the front of the neck is widespread in many patients diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and it might not be something anyone wants to ignore. Thus, patients should call their doctor.
Since thyroid cancer is not all that common in most individuals, their doctor might decide to check for other health issues before checking for cancer. They might do a few tests to determine what the patient is living with or suffering from, and thyroid cancer might not be first on that list.
If patients have pain in the front of their neck along with swollen lymph nodes, a long-lasting hoarse voice, and a prolonged difficulty swallowing that shows no sign of going away, doctors may order cancer screening sooner.
5. Difficulty Breathing
When individuals breathe, their body takes in a breath that travels through it. When the thyroid glands are swollen, it’s not easy for the air individual’s inhale to pass through that area of their throat and neck.
This might mean they will begin to suffer from difficulty breathing. This is not something to ignore. Of all the thyroid cancer symptoms, this is one of the most serious.
If individuals are having trouble breathing in any capacity, they should never ignore the problem and always seek medical attention right away.
The doctor can work on the issue behind their breathing issues when they’re in the hospital, but it’s imperative for patients to have help breathing before their situation becomes so bad it’s too late.
If individuals have thyroid cancer, their doctor will worry about that once they’re able to regulate the patient’s breathing and keep them safe in the short term.