Thyroid cancer develops from abnormal cells that grow in the thyroid gland, which is located at the front of the neck. The butterfly-shaped gland plays an important function by sending necessary hormones to cells throughout the body.
The thyroid gland assists in the regulation of the body’s metabolism by breaking down food intake for energy production. When something disrupts the thyroid, the gland can produce a variety of symptoms from anxiety to sluggishness. Cancerous symptoms are more pronounced in the area of the neck and throat.
Thyroid cancer is usually easy to treat when found early. Here are 10 symptoms to watch for when thyroid cancer may be involved:
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1. A lump in the neck.
2. Swelling in the neck.
3. Swollen lymph nodes.
4. Pain in the neck that may stretch to the ears.
5. Difficulty swallowing.
6. Trouble breathing.
7. Frequent or constant wheezing.
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8. Hoarseness in the voice.
9. Changes to the voice.
10. A cough that doesn’t go away even when you have no other cold symptoms.
Because thyroid cancer is not a common disease, it’s important to check with your doctor if you have these symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms are signs of other conditions, and cancer might be overlooked. Very often lumps in the throat are benign, but early treatment of thyroid cancer is usually successful.
Although causes of thyroid cancer aren’t fully known, people who have had radiation treatment in areas of the head, neck, or chest, have a higher risk of developing the cancer. Dental X-rays, if not overused, don’t increase the risk, according to WebMD.
Sometimes symptoms don’t appear early in the disease. Doctors may notice swelling or a lump and take a biopsy of the gland. Usually a small incision is involved, but a larger part of the gland may need to be removed if earlier biopsies are inconclusive.
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