Thyroid Cancer: Signs to Look Out For

According to the American Cancer Society, thyroid cancer “is the most rapidly increasing cancer in the US tripling in the past three decades.” This year alone there have been 53,990 new cases, women amounting to about 85% of diagnosis. But what is thyroid cancer? Why should you be worried about it? To answer these questions, you should first know what a thyroid gland is. It’s a gland right below Adam’s apple, in the shape of a butterfly. Its job is to create and regulate the hormones in your body and your metabolism. When it goes out of control, you could get hyperthyroidism (it happens when a person has too much thyroid hormone) or hypothyroidism (when a person has too little thyroid hormone). Nodules can also develop in the thyroid gland, which can cause cancer. Most nodules are benign, but one can never be too sure. Here are a few signs to look out for thyroid cancer.

 

1. A lump in the neck

It’s common for the thyroid to have lumps, and they can be non-cancerous, but if you feel it growing you should check it out right away. Young adults and teens are the most at risk since usually, they aren’t benign at that age.

 

2. Swelling in the neck

The swelling of the lymph nodes usually happens when you get an infection, but they are at risk of being invaded by cancer cells.

 

3. Hoarseness & a constant cough

Thyroid cancer patients usually have a persistent cough that causes a hoarseness in the voice.

4. Trouble swallowing

Dysphagia or “trouble swallowing” is one of the first signs of thyroid cancer. It’s when you feel a blockage in your throat when eating or drinking.

 

5. Trouble breathing

Also known as Dyspnea, it’s a common cause of thyroid cancer. Its symptoms include labored, rapid or even painful breathing and a tightness in the chest. It usually happens because the location of the nodule blocks your breathing.

These are 5 signs to look out for thyroid cancer. As a survivor, I didn’t notice I had these until after the operation. When looking them up, everything made sense. During high school, I had trouble swallowing my food, had a constant cough for no reason and felt out of breath a lot. Maybe this would’ve helped me find out about my condition earlier.

Do know that I am no doctor. So if you have these symptoms, make sure to see your doctor. One should never take risks when it comes to their health. For more information, make sure to check out the American Cancer Society’s or the American Thyroid Association’s site!

 

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