Patient Comments: Thyroid Cancer - Symptoms

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

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: sissypwr, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 15

It was so sudden. All this occurred with 6 weeks' time: I started having weird flashes of upper chest pain, upper back pain, incredible right arm pain and weakness in left arm. All of which I thought pointed to an impending heart problem. In addition, I had weird nerve pain in thighs, arms, wrists, and neck (I thought this was related to new Nexium medicine for my GERD). I went to my general physician and he ran blood tests. Suddenly my blood pressure, cholesterol, sugars, and everything was up. My white blood cell count and related counts pointing to infection were high too. Ultimately he dismissed it all. What! I had ear infection of right mastoid soon after and went on antibiotics. But then after a couple of weeks I had trouble swallowing (thought due to 14 days of antibiotics). All my lymph nodes started to swell off and on, got painful and would go back to normal. I had ear pain too. Pain one day and not the next; baffling. I went to the emergency room (ER) with all this happening. EKG and blood tests showed no heart trouble but because I mentioned frequent headaches they sent me for head/neck CT scan; which incidentally showed nodules on my thyroid. Concerned with all this happening in such a short time I scheduled ultrasound right away with ENT/Surgeon. After fine needle biopsy of 1.6 cm nodule it came back conclusive papillary carcinoma of the thyroid. I had none of these symptoms prior to June 2014 and by July 8th I found out I had cancer. I am scheduled for total thyroidectomy July 17th. Hoping all my symptoms subside and that the cancer has not spread beyond thyroid.

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Comment from: butterflywings, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: February 12

When I was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer, I didn't feel any odd lumps or nodules in my neck, but I was suffering from muscle weakness, tiredness and getting constant colds. After a particularly nasty bug I noticed that my lymph nodes never seemed to go down in size. Once I had my treatment (thyroidectomy+radiation-iodine+medication) I felt more myself than I had done in years. A year on and another suspicious nodule has been seen on ultrasound scan. My doctors have recently asked me to increase my dose of thyroxine to reduce risk of it growing further until they find out exactly what it could be. But interestingly I'm starting to feel lethargic again, feeling cold, tired, also slight tickly cough, all pointing towards hypothyroidism. I wonder if it is possible that thyroid cancer somehow alters the way the hormone is taken on in the body; blood levels show that everything is normal, but I clearly am not!

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Comment from: JCH29, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: December 05

I had what I can only describe as a muscle spasm in my throat. I would get a sharp pain at the base of my throat, followed by pain at the top of my throat (back roof of my mouth) and pain at the top of my stomach (where my throat met my stomach). If felt like my stomach and the roof of my mouth were being pulled to the thyroid. The only way I could help ease the pain was to drink ice cold water and "stretch" my throat by tilting my head up. I didn't think this was an issue until a cervical MRI happened to reveal a tumor on my thyroid. The "muscle spasms" I thought I was having turned out to be cancer. Had I said something 5 months earlier, I wouldn't be ill today. I had other symptoms (weight gain, hot flashes, odd pains, sweating all the time, fatigue, depression, and poor sleep) that were being dismissed via prescriptions for sleep aids, antidepressants, constipation, anti-anxiety drugs and narcotic pain medicines. These prescriptions only masked the symptoms of deadly cancer until things began to get worse.

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Thyroid Cancer - Treatments Question: What was the treatment for your thyroid cancer?
Thyroid Cancer - Share Your Surgery Experience Question: Please share your experience with surgery for thyroid cancer.

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