Thyroid Cancer - Symptoms

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The symptoms of thyroid cancer can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?

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What are the symptoms and signs of thyroid cancer?

Most often, a thyroid cancer is found when the patient or the patient's health care professional feels (palpates) a lump or nodule in the lower front of the neck where the thyroid is located. It is most often painless and found incidentally, by chance. Occasionally, an enlarged lymph node may be palpated by itself in the more lateral neck or in addition to a thyroid nodule.

Most patients have normal thyroid function at the time the nodule is discovered and have no symptoms related to hyper or hypothyroidism.

It the tumor grows locally, it may cause difficulty swallowing food (dysphagia) if it compresses the esophagus (which is rare) or hoarseness if the recurrent laryngeal nerve that is located near the thyroid gland -- which controls the vocal cords -- is invaded and causes vocal cord paralysis.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: bklynnyc, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: September 21

I am 36 and I've had a chronic cough for at least 4 years. All the doctors thought after numerous tests it was allergies because the cough came and went months at a time. About a 6 weeks ago a lump in throat appeared and has now grown to the size of a lime. My cough returned as well. After FNA (fine needle aspiration) I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and I am having surgery. I don't know anything further until after surgery and my RI (radioactive iodine) treatment. I am frustrated no one helped me sooner. I am not afraid of surgery, scars, diets, etc., but I am fearful of the cancer having spread to my lungs or other areas due to the lack of open minded care for so long. I've only told 1 person until I know if it has spread or not.

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Comment from: bengals, Male (Patient) Published: May 06

I have had a sore throat for over a year, and large lymph glands, am tired and irritable, have hoarse voice, and major neck pain. I put this down to my other illness, ankylosing spondylitis. I told the doctor about my sore throat, and he said it's just an infection and it will go. I told him about the lumps in my neck and he said the same thing. It was over a year ago now, and I am still in pain every day. By accident they found two nodules on my thyroid. I am now waiting to be referred for a fine needle aspiration of the thyroid; fingers crossed it isn't thyroid cancer. But I'm about 80 percent sure it is because of my symptoms. I am hoping because they've been there ages, and it hasn't spread. Hopefully I'll be lucky.

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