Screening for thyroid cancer
Most types of thyroid cancer are not as aggressive as anaplastic thyroid cancer. However, that does not mean that you can stay quiet doing nothing about it. It is recommended to screen for thyroid cancer, even if you feel you don’t have anything to worry about.
Regular screenings for thyroid cancer are recommended for individuals at higher risk, such as those with a family history of the disease or specific genetic mutations. Early detection and treatment can improve the chances of long-term survival.
It also is important for individuals to be aware of the symptoms of thyroid cancer, which may include a lump in the neck, difficulty swallowing, pain in the throat and neck, hoarseness, and changes in the voice.
Signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer
Thyroid cancer is characterized by the abnormal growth of cells in the thyroid gland, which is located at the base of the neck. Thus, the disease is often characterized by volume changes and obstruction symptoms in the throat.
Symptoms of thyroid cancer can vary widely and can include:
- A lump or swelling on the thyroid or neck, which is usually noted in a thorough physical exam
- Goiter, which is a move obvious enlargement of the thyroid gland
- Hoarseness and other changes in the voice because the thyroid is located close to the vocal cords
- Difficulty swallowing, especially when the tumor grows to the inside portion of the gland
- A feeling of tightness in the throat, especially when swallowing
- Fatigue, which happens in a late stage disease or when thyroid cancer produces thyroid hormone
- Weight loss, which is more pronounced in aggressive disease
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat, which is also a sign of hyperthyroidism
- Nervousness as a result of elevated thyroid hormone in the blood