The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland present in the lower portion of the neck that is responsible for regulating the metabolism of the body through the release of some specific hormones. Sometimes, either due to a genetic predisposition or a chronic deficiency of iodine or any other factor, a tumor may develop in the thyroid gland which can be cancerous in nature. Generally, these tumors are not detected in the early stages as there are no evident signs. However, specific symptoms that you could keep in mind for the early detection of thyroid cancer, in order to devise a prompt thyroid treatment, are as follows –
Lump in the neck
A common thyroid cancer symptoms, whether it be papillary, medullary, follicular or anaplastic, is the presence of a lump in the neck. Generally, the thyroid gland is present over the trachea, and a good reference point is the cervical vertebrae. If you notice such a lump, then you should consider getting it checked immediately.
One almost certain way of predicting whether a tumor is malignant or not is to check if it is growing in size suddenly and at a faster rate than anticipated. You could use your fingers as reference size if you don’t have any measuring instruments handy.
Fixity of the lump
A typical thyroid cancer symptom is that a previously movable lump suddenly gets fixed to an underlying structure. The best way to detect this is to palpate the thyroid gland and feel for any movement under the fingers.
Like mentioned before, there will be rapid growth in the tumor mass if thyroid cancer is suspected. When the growth is considerable enough, it will be seen as a swelling on the neck, mainly present in the midline of the neck.
Pain is a typical symptom of thyroid cancer, although it is not a pathognomonic sign as it is not conclusive. The typical pain is intense in nature and can sometimes spread to the ears.
Hoarseness of the voice
An early sign of thyroid cancer is the development of hoarseness in the voice, which is mainly caused due to the compression of the recurrent laryngeal nerve and sometimes the external laryngeal nerve.
If you don’t seem to have any cold but have been coughing for a long time, it can be indicative of thyroid cancer as well.
The trouble of swallowing and breathing
Since there is a swelling of the thyroid gland during malignancy, it tends to put pressure on the underlying structure. The esophagus and trachea lie in close association with it, which cause difficulty in swallowing and breathing respectively.
Thyroid cancer, if detected early, has an excellent prognosis and can be treated with a minimum chance of recurrence. Thus, it is advisable to remain informed and diagnose the early signs of thyroid cancer.