There are several symptoms of thyroid cancer which occur depending on the part of the gland that the cancer tumor is present. However, early stage of thyroid cancer can show minimal to none symptoms. Hence, detection can sometimes only be possible during later stages.
Thyroid Cancer Symptoms
Knowing whether or not one has cancer before it metastasizes can increase a patient’s chance of survival. Furthermore, it can help doctors determine immediately which type of treatment they would administer to the patient.
We’ve listed below some of the most common signs of thyroid cancer:
Lumps In The Neck
Some people tend to notice a bump in front of their necks. However, not all thyroid nodules are noticeable because some are very small and hardly noticeable. However, some lumps are noticeable when one is swallowing food or substances. Nevertheless, not all lumps are malignant.
Some may be thyroid nodules which are benign growths that appear mostly in older people. Although the most efficient way on how to detect a potential thyroid cancer lump is through a doctor performing a thyroid exam and feeling the throat. (1)
Swollen Glands In The Neck
Swollen glands in the neck happen due to swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Though it is not similar to thyroid nodules which are not cancerous, it’s a major symptom of the thyroid cancer.
Thyroid cancer happens to spread to the lymph nodes which are all over your body and in the neck region. Furthermore, the mass may increase on one side of the neck where the lymph nodes are present instead of the front where the thyroid gland is at.
The lymph nodes tend to swell when you experience a cold or some sore throat. However, when the lymph nodes continue to remain swollen even after the infection is gone, it is important that you seek medical attention before cancer reoccurs. (2)
Increased Hoarseness Of Voice
This is more likely be due to a viral or bacterial infection in the voice box. However, since thyroid glands are just below the voice box, a cancerous growth from thyroid cancer may press the voice box resulting in a rough or hoarse voice.
However, this is not the best way of detecting thyroid cancer because hoarseness of voice can be due to other minor infections other than thyroid cancer. Nevertheless, it is advisable to seek professional help if you notice any major changes in your voice.
Neck pain can sometimes radiate up to the ear region and in the front of the neck. Pain is always a sign that your body activities are not taking place as usual and that there is a need for a body checkup. However, not all pains in the neck and ear region are symptoms of thyroid cancer. Nevertheless, when the pain persists and happens alongside other thyroid related symptoms, it is advisable that you see a doctor for the right prognosis.
Throat Pain And Difficulty In Swallowing
Pain and sore throats are common and might be due to other infections other than thyroid cancer. However, if the pain persists and it comes along with difficulty in swallowing, then it is advisable that you seek medical advice from a physician and get the right diagnosis for the pain. (3)
Breathing problems can be an indication of a developing thyroid cancer. This is because thyroid cancer causes pressure on the trachea because the thyroid is just above the windpipe (trachea). When the trachea is under pressure, breathing difficulties arise.
Nevertheless, this is not a common way of identifying symptoms of thyroid cancer because breathing problems may be due to other infections other than thyroid cancer. But when the problem persists or becomes on and off, then you need to seek medical attention. (4)
Other symptoms include constant coughs that are not due to cold, loose bowel movements and flushing (redness of the face) which is brought about by medullary thyroid cancer.