According to the CDC, about 12,000 men and 36,000 women get thyroid cancer each year. About 1,800 people die from the disease annually.
The thyroid gland is situated in front of the neck and is shaped a bit like a butterfly. It produces hormones and plays a crucial part in activities such as breathing, blood circulation, weight management, and growth.
Detecting the signs of thyroid cancer early enough to receive effective treatment improves your odds of survival. Here are a few of the key symptoms of thyroid cancer.
Pain in your neck is a good reason to get checked for cancer.
Any pain in your neck should be checked by a doctor to rule out thyroid cancer, according to Mayo Clinic. This includes pain that seems to be just under the skin or pain that sits deeper in your throat. Though you may simply be suffering from a muscle sprain or a bit of irritation, a doctor will be able to tell for sure if there is anything to be concerned about.
You should also be watchful for any pain around your ears.
Though the thyroid gland is located at the front of your neck, pain related to thyroid cancer can sometimes present on side of the neck and up to the ears, according to the American Cancer Society. Persistent pain of any kind should lead you to talk to a doctor about possible causes and treatment.
If your voice is suddenly hoarse with no symptoms of a cold, you might want to get your thyroid checked.
A hoarse voice or scratchy throat can be a symptom of thyroid cancer, according to the CDC. Though everything from cold weather to talking too much can bring on a hoarse voice, if you notice persistent hoarseness that doesn’t seem to be getting any better, it’s a good idea to be evaluated by a doctor.
Don’t ignore any unusual voice changes.
In addition to hoarseness, you should also be on the lookout for any unusual voice changes. According to the American Cancer Society, a voice that suddenly deepens or rises in pitch might indicate the presence of cancer. Though voice changes can sometimes be caused by normal events such as puberty or pregnancy, it’s a good idea to rule out any more serious medical causes.
A constant cough with no other symptoms could be thyroid cancer.
A persistent cough without any other cold-like symptoms might be a sign of thyroid cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. You should pay particular attention to any cough that arises suddenly and isn’t accompanied by a runny nose, chest congestion, or phlegm. If you notice this symptom, visit your doctor to rule out environmental factors such as smoke or dust.
Trouble breathing can be a sign of thyroid cancer.
Having trouble breathing is a serious medical situation that should prompt you to visit your doctor or local emergency room as soon as possible. Difficulty taking a deep breath can be a sign of thyroid cancer, according to the CDC. Though this is enough of a reason to get checked over by a doctor, it’s also important to rule out other causes such as an allergic reaction or lung problems.
A lump on the side of your neck is also a common symptom.
One of the most common signs of thyroid cancer is a lump in the neck. According to the American Cancer Society, this kind of lump can grow quickly and is even occasionally be detected with the naked eye. Any new lumps or bumps anywhere on your body should always be checked out by a medical professional.
Swelling around the neck might also be a sign of trouble.
Even if you can’t detect an individual lump, the American Cancer Society advised that general swelling in the neck might be an indicator of thyroid cancer. If you notice any lingering swelling that doesn’t seem to be related to any other illness, head to the doctor to get checked out.
Having trouble swallowing might be an indication of thyroid cancer.
If you’re having trouble swallowing or you feel like there’s something caught in your throat, that could be a good reason to take a trip to the doctor. According to the CDC, trouble swallowing with no other associated illnesses or medical condition is sometimes a sign of cancer of the throat or thyroid. The only way to know for sure is to be evaluated by a medical professional.
Head to the doctor if you notice swelling or changes in your lymph nodes.
According to Healthline, your lymph nodes are small glands that play a crucial part in immune function. They are located at different areas of the body, including under the jaw and on either side of the neck. Lymph nodes frequently become swollen as a result of cancer, so it’s very important to be seen by a medical expert if you notice any enlargement or tenderness under your jaw or on either side of your neck.
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