Thyroid cancer is a growth of cells that begins in the thyroid, a gland located at the base of the neck. The job of the thyroid gland is to produce hormones that regulate heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight. There are several types of thyroid cancer, including papillary thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer, anaplastic thyroid cancer, medullary thyroid cancer, and more. There are different treatments for different types and stages, but Prasletinib, Gavreto, and Lenvatinib are listed as treatment medications. Other treatment therapies may include surgery, targeted drug therapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and so on. Read on to learn the early symptoms of thyroid cancer:
1. A lump on the neck
While a lump on the neck doesn’t always mean cancer, it’s essential to get it checked just in case. Thyroid cancer can cause a lump on the neck because of a swollen nodule—it can be felt through the skin as a large and hard lump, and it may also be painful or cause discomfort.
2. Changes to your voice
With thyroid cancer, you may notice your voice changing—it may be more hoarse, you may speak louder, or you may speak higher or lower. This occurs because the thyroid gland is wrapped around your larynx (voice box), and the larynx has special receptors that react to the hormones released by the thyroid. Due to their proximity and involvement with one another, it’s not surprising that thyroid cancer can have a direct effect on the voice.
3. Difficulty swallowing
Any enlargement of the thyroid can cause difficulty swallowing, and thyroid cancer is no exception. Due to the swelling of the thyroid nodule, this can directly compress the swallowing organs. So, if you’re experiencing difficulty swallowing and it just won’t go away, you should visit your doctor to get that checked.
4. Swollen lymph nodes
Thyroid cancer can cause swollen lymph nodes. Due to proximity, thyroid cancer cells can break out early and spread to these local lymph nodes, and then slowly grow within. This is the reason why, sometimes, doctors will remove the lymph nodes in thyroid surgery as they are the first place the cancer would spread.
5. Pain in your neck and throat
If you experience any unexplained pain in your neck or throat for more than a few weeks, you should check in with your doctor. Thyroid cancer can cause this kind of pain due to the swelling that occurs in the area—so you should especially get checked if pain is present along with other symptoms.