Patient Comments: Thyroid Cancer - Symptoms

Question:

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

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

Comment from: Ms. K, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 07

I had the right thyroid removed in September 2016. It was diagnosed as follicular carcinoma. It is now June 2017 and I still suffer from awful tightness and crazy pain in my neck area. I've been on medical leave this entire time. Apparently, the size and location of the tumor and the way they had to remove it and stitched it up has caused all the issues. So far the left side looks good, they are suggesting removal but I am not moving forward on that at this time. Sending everyone the best possible outcome for your surgeries.

Thyroid Conditions & Treatments
Comment from: Hippiechic, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 08

I am a breast cancer survivor with thyroid nodules we are watching. I had inconclusive biopsy 3 years ago. One nodule solid, at last check 1 or 2 months ago had increased a little in size. I am to recheck in 6 months. At that visit my blood pressure was 209/98! I'd been on propranolol 40 mg for 6 months, just increased to 80 mg twice a day for one week. This doctor added lisinopril 5 mg, family doctor been trying to adjust medications. Can't stabilize. In the morning it is below 100/60, and every afternoon above 140/60! I am taking 40 mg propranolol morning and evening and also 20 mg lisinopril.

Comment from: shaksy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 29

I've been getting progressively worse for the past 4 years, and have been trying to find a doctor who would listen, for that long too. I had 2 biopsies a year and a half ago, and 1 nodule came back undiagnostic both times. The surgeon said it was my choice to have it taken out, that it was the only way to be 100 percent sure, but both endocrinologists blew it off and said they weren't worried about it. Now I feel so bad. I keep getting sore throats, dizziness, sweats, nausea, fatigue, sleeplessness, and more, but the most worrisome is the lump on my neck. I asked the doctor (new doctor, so far she has listened to everything) if it could be from sinusitis but all she said was it is pretty big. I am scared about thyroid cancer. Ultrasound is tomorrow. I got from, 'oh, it'll be nothing, quit worrying,' to 'but there is a huge lump and you are so sick.' The new one couldn't believe that with low thyroid results since 2002, that no one has helped me! I told her every single one blamed my symptoms on anxiety. Ugh, but I'm trying to not get angry. Makes me feel worse.

Comment from: Sharon, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 18

I've had chronic coughing for over 18 months now! Over the last year and a half, I've had 3 chest x-rays, a bronchoscopy, an esophagus scope, many visits to a pulmonary specialist, breathing tests, hydrocodone cough syrup, prescription cough suppressant pills, inhalers, puffers, nasal rinses, 24 hour GERD monitor, etc. The cough is worse at night and at times I've vomited because of the choking feeling. A pulmonary specialist kept telling me I had allergies or rhinitis but no medications would help. I've had the cough in Australia, Florida, Costa Rica and Illinois where I live so I knew it wasn't allergies. All the chest x-rays were clear. The coughing fits are embarrassing and have even kept me from attending church, movies, and other functions where one must be silent for periods of time. I kept telling the doctors I saw that something is not right. I also lost interest in exercising which I do regularly. I just don't seem to have the energy and even had my worst time in a spring 5K run. Finally, at an annual checkup with my oncologist (I'm at risk for breast cancer because of family history), I mentioned to her that I'm dealing with this chronic cough that not even 2 specialists I've seen for a second opinion can figure out. She was shocked that no one had ordered a CT scan of my chest. The scan she which immediately ordered showed nodules on my thyroid which led to a thyroid ultra sound followed by a biopsy (FNB). I have thyroid cancer and will see a surgeon this week. I'm angry and scared that this cough has been going on for over 18 months now. My main symptom of thyroid cancer was a cough!

Comment from: Blessed620, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 11

I am 30 years old. I had my daughter when I was 24 and I was able to lose about 65 pounds and keep it off for a while. I had my son at 28 and I lost all of the baby weight and additional 13 pounds in a year. Boy, did I work hard for those 13 pounds. I gained it all back in a matter of 6 weeks after my summer vacation. I couldn't understand why, as nothing had changed. I started feeling extremely tired and all of my muscles and joints hurt. I started doing some of my own research and did a self-examination of my neck. To my surprise I actually felt a lump on my neck close to my thyroid. It scared me at first but it also answered a million questions. I scheduled my appointment right away. My doctor felt the lump as well and ordered an ultrasound. The technician confirmed it was inside my thyroid. I just received my results today. My next step is FNAB (fine needle aspiration biopsy) to detect if there is cancer. It's about 3.6 cm big on my right lobe. It is solid and vascular. I will post an update in a few weeks. I just want to feel myself again. Listen to your body is all I have to say. He tried to blame it on the weight, stress at work, depression, etc., but had I not pointed out the lump my prognosis could have been different.

Comment from: sillysoni, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 17

Since as long as I can remember I"ve had hyperthyroidism. About 5 years ago when I was 37, I was diagnosed with advanced Graves's disease and been on Neomercazole since. But lately I"ve been so tired and have no energy at all which really is the worst as I have a high energy job. After having blood tests that showed the Neomercazole wasn"t doing its job, I was sent for an ultrasound which found 6 tumors up to 1.5cm solid with calcifications. Going to have a biopsy in 2 weeks and hoping for the best!

Comment from: Polly, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 12

I have been attending a rheumatologist with RA (rheumatoid arthritis) and possible SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus). For two months now I've been feeling worse and lost 4 kg. I had blood work done that showed high platelets, low ferritin and iron, high CRP and ESR. They also found blood in my stools. After scans and test, I have slightly enlarged lymph nodes in my neck and one in my groin and also a 7mm thyroid mass. I am waiting to see the specialist.

Thyroid Conditions & Treatments
Comment from: Frustrated, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 08

I am 46 years old and since the birth of my child 17 years ago I've had a number of symptoms. I can go down the symptom lists and check off all the symptoms. I have gone to numerous doctors telling them my concerns, only to be brushed off and told, “Eat less, exercise more, don't drink coffee, you're depressed, it's arthritis , perimenopause, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis,” and numerous other problems. I know my body and felt like the doctors had no answers. They have done the routine thyroid tests and all were within normal range. Recently, I have lost more than 40 pounds without trying. The doctors are now finally taking me seriously, but now they think I have thyroid cancer. If you know you're not feeling right and getting pat answers, don't give up. Find a doctor who doesn't say, “I'm not sureā€¦” find one who says, “Let's find out.” I have cancerous nodules that were overlooked. Don't let it happen to you – you're not crazy. You know your body best, so listen to it.

Comment from: Sally, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 20

My symptom of thyroid cancer was swelling in the neck. This really was of no major concern at the time, but relative tests found it to be cancer. Treatment commenced almost immediately, was hospitalized and treated with radioactive iodine. Treatment was successful and regular follow ups were clear. That was 14 years ago now, still have to have annual follow up and regular blood tests, but all is well.

Comment from: carolleej2, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 20

I've been sick for two years and out of work for more than one year. I was addicted to exercise. I loved that "exercise endorphin release". But, eventually I stopped getting that endorphin release and exercise made me chronically tired. I began having pain and fatigue all of the time. I got dizzy when I tried to exercise. Instantly I had high blood pressure after being low all of my previous life. Eventually I had edema and excessive sweating, then no sweating at all. After two years of seeing doctors and finding out I have been diagnosed with everything from Rheumatoid Arthritis to Biliary dyskinesia, Vitamin D deficiency, gastritis, lupus, possible sarcoidosis, possible Wegener' s, anemia, generalized pain, pituitary tumor, shortness of breath and lung scarring, blood in urine, mixed connective tissue disease... I could go on and on, but I have thyroid cancer. So, the doctors tell me there is no way my thyroid cancer could possibly be causing my problems. Does anyone have any similar stories? I am hoping with all my heart and soul that once this tumor is gone so will be the edema, lethargy, rashes, pain and discouragement. If anyone can shed light on this, please share. Thank you so much (in advance).

Comment from: Doggity, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: December 01

I had no symptoms with my thyroid cancer. It was an incidental finding, as it turned out. What made them pay attention to my thyroid was the Grave's disease, along with a large nodule, which they biopsied and found to be benign. Because of the Grave's, they went in surgically, and removed the whole thyroid, and that's when they found the papillary cancer right on the isthmus. Because it was only 7 mm, well encapsulated and without any lymphatic involvement, there was no need for radioactive iodine. I'm fine now and am on 175 mcg of Levoxyl. A good endocrinologist made all the difference, in my case, as well as a truly excellent surgeon.

Comment from: WordSorter, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 01

I had absolutely no symptoms with my thyroid cancer. I didn't even know there were problems until my internist asked me about the lump on my thyroid. I went in for the ultrasound, which didn't show anything, and the biopsy, which was inconclusive. I let it go for several more years until my new family practitioner pointed it out again, and suggested I see a surgeon about it. The surgeon examined me (and it), and suggested I get it taken out, saying that if God wanted us to have lumps on our thyroids, everyone would have lumpy thyroids. I was going to wait on it, but he sat me down with his scheduler before I could get away and assured me that the majority of the cases were benign. He said that given I had no symptoms, there was probably nothing to worry about. Well, that turned out to be false: They opened me up, discovered a folicular cancer with papillary indications (the tumor was more than 1 cm) and took out the thyroid and accompanying lymph nodes. As I like to say, I went into to surgery with a lump on my thyroid and came out of it, minus the thyroid and with the designation "cancer survivor."

Comment from: tonidatigress, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

About nine years ago, I had been having a lot of flu-like systems and was tired all the time. I went to the doctor, but he told me my blood tests were fine. He said I was just fat and needed to lose some weight. So, I went to a different doctor, and he said the same thing. By the fifth doctor, I had difficulty swallowing. It felt as if my neck was tighter than normal. I went to another doctor whose nurse practitioner saw me. She instantly saw my neck and asked me how long I had my goiter. At last, someone saw and felt it. She ordered an ultrasound that showed a 6 cm tumor around most of the left side of my thyroid and the needle biopsy showed thyroid cancer. By the time my insurance approved the surgery, five months had passed and the tumor had grown around to attach to the back of my neck. I had a complete thyroidectomy and radioactive iodine treatments. I was put on thyroid supplements and have been doing OK. Just recently, I went in for a test on my stomach and the doctor had them scan my neck. They found a tumor in my lymph node. It's not that big, but it's there. So now we test some more.

Thyroid Conditions & Treatments
Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 09

When I was 45 years old, I started having numbness over my entire body, and my mouth started to droop, similar to Bell's palsy. One day, I felt entirely strange, and I thought I was having an aneurysm. I called the doctor, and he told me to come in right away. Once I was at the doctor's office, he could feel a large lump on the right side of my neck. I had never noticed it before, but it must have been there, because it was very noticeable. He sent me to a specialist, and through radioactive testing, they discovered it was a nodule on my thyroid. The doctor scheduled me for a thyroidectomy. He said they would check for cancer during the surgery, and if it was cancerous, they would take out the whole thyroid. If it wasn't cancerous, they would only remove half of the thyroid. The primary tests showed no cancer in the large nodule, but later testing showed cancer in the smaller nodules. Ten days later, I had the other half of my thyroid surgically removed. The cancer was papillary and follicular. I did not have any treatments other than surgery, as I was in the very early stages and the cancerous nodule was small. They told me my thyroid was full of nodules. Thyroid problems run in my family, with my sister having Grave's disease at the age of 15. I used to take Synthroid, but now I take Armour on a daily basis. I have less ups and downs with the Armour.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 16

I had no symptoms. My GP thought I had lupus and sent me to a Rheumatologist. After several months and as many blood draws, I was told I did not have lupus, but I had a small nodule on my thyroid. I was then sent to another doctor. An ultrasound gave the size; needle aspiration was not possible due to the location of the nodule. I was given 3 options. 1st--wait and watch; 2nd--med and hope it became smaller; 3rd--not recommended but was an option was to have the nodule removed. Since I had 2 kids in high school, and their father had died when they were six, we (all of us together) decided it did not belong there and have it removed. When I saw the surgeon to schedule, he laughed and said if I was a man the surgery would be almost an emergency since theirs were usually cancerous. When I came to in the recovery room, the nurse mentioned that I had a total thyroidectomy. I knew at that point mine was cancer.

Comment from: 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 05

I was extremely tired and irritable for weeks until I started to have bad dizzy spells that made me feel drunk even after long hours of sleep and complete bed rest for three days. I knew something was wrong, but the doctors told me it was stress. A few weeks later a lump appeared on the left side of my throat and a biopsy and blood results showed papillary thyroid cancer.

Published: July 14

I went to a stroke prevention screening and had an ultrasound on my carotid arteries, and I noticed they kept going over the same area. A couple of weeks later, in the mail, the results came back and said that my thyroid needed to be checked out by my doctor. The doctor sent me to a specialist, who sent me to a surgery specialist. It was papillary thyroid cancer. The scary part is that I had no symptoms.

Comment from: Metsgirl721, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 02

I am 38 years old, I had swollen lymph nodes in neck since 2010. Last year I had one, moveable, on my collar bone only 7mm. All doctors said everything is fine, blood work is okay, they removed 1 lymph node and said it's reactive. Now on an incidental finding I have nodules on thyroid. Since July I've gained 10lbs, anxiety, a bag of nerves, trembling hands and twitches and told it was all stress; now I will wait for biopsy and go from there, listen to your body!

Comment from: Silver Streaks, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 23

I was diagnosed with two thyroid nodules and goiter three years ago. The doctor did a biopsy, which came back benign. My doctor said I needed to have an ultrasound every six months anyway. Then the ultrasound in December of 2012 showed that the nodule had grown three times its original size. My TSH had gone down to almost nothing, all of a sudden. I selected an endocrine surgeon who removed my entire thyroid, which was now cancerous, and also a benign parathyroid tumor. Then I had to go on the two-week low-iodine diet in preparation for my radioactive iodine treatment. I was in isolation for 24 hours in the hospital and then for a week I had to stay 3 feet away from people. I am still in shock over the whole experience. I go back for a check-up in six months.

Comment from: whutch, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 18

I had no symptoms whatsoever of having papillary thyroid cancer. My family doctor diagnosed a small mass in right thyroid area as part of my annual physical. She referred me to an X-ray/ultrasound specialist, who confirmed a cancerous mass. I was then referred to a specialist/surgeon, and received a biopsy to confirm size and stage. I had surgery to remove my total thyroid.

Comment from: mazza, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 20

I have an under active thyroid for 6-7 yrs and I find I can't take Eltroxin. I feel edgy frustrated and fatigue, so I stopped taking it. I am now worried I might have thyroid cancer I have a few of the symptoms associated with this disease and I'm very worried and scared to go to a doctor with it because it then becomes very real.

Thyroid Conditions & Treatments
Comment from: faresvenus, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 23

About 2 years before being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, I was having difficulty swallowing carbonated beverages when my head was tilted back. As much as a year before being diagnosed I would get swollen glands in my neck and feeling like I was coming down with a bad cold but never got a cold. My glands would swell up about every 6 weeks. Six months before being diagnosed I was feeling pressure on my throat when I would lay on my back I also started having pain in my neck around this same time.

Comment from: Gargoyale, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 12

I had a small pea size-lump on my right-side thyroid. It came just after the birth of my second child. The doctor said he couldn't feel anything and likely thought I was having postpartum depression. My other symptoms were extreme weakness, tiredness and mental issues. It was more than two years later that I settled down and had it checked out again, and by this time it was the size of a walnut. It was hard to breathe and swallow, and it was painful. It was papillary cancer. Two surgeries and 20 some years later, and I am doing OK.

Published: July 23

I went for a routine check up, and my primary care physician discovered a very small bump. Even when she showed me where it was, I could not feel it. The ultra sound revealed a small nodule on the lower left thyroid. The biopsy revealed papillary thyroid carcinoma.

Published: July 14

I had a total thyroidectomy after 3 fine needle aspirates of nodules were inconclusive. Symptoms were hoarseness of the voice & feeling like I couldnt swallow. The histology results showed papillary thyroid cancer but my surgeon says no further treatment is required other than regular neck ultrasounds. I'mnot sure if I'm happy with this as I have had the nodules for close on 4 years. Any advice from anyone in a similar situation would be appreciated. thank, Meg

Published: July 01

I didn't notice anything, but at a regular check-up the doctor asked me how long I had had a lump in my neck. It was very noticeable once you paid attention to its existence. I had no metabolic effects. They did a biopsy and found no cancer. They took out half of the thyroid and upon examination found no cancer, but the four-day lab test found extensive follicular cancer so they took out the second half of the thyroid gland. I'm on Levoxyl or its generic equivalent. Unfortunately, the tumor was large when discovered and I was over 40, so my prognosis is to have 50% chance of living 10 years and a 25% chance of living 20 years. I've never been good at statistics, so I'm planning on proving them wrong.

Published: June 26

I had no obvious symptoms. I had Thyroiditis as a teenager and had developed some scar tissue in my neck that looked like a Goiter. At my annual physical with my family physician, I asked my doctor what baseline tests I should have before turning 40 and she recommended that I have an ultrasound of my neck to see if nodules had developed. The ultrasound revealed two tumors. Four tumors - all cancerous were discovered during my biopsy. My biopsy took only 15 minutes and I learned that day that I had Papillary Thyroid Cancer. Listen to your body, be proactive, be your own health advocate - it may save your life!

Published: June 20

A large non-painful lump on the front of my neck.

Published: June 18

I was very tired and had a sinus infection that would not go away.

Published: June 09

I had a constant sore throat and it was hard to swallow. I would also notice my voice would go hoarse and then be fine.

Comment from: Christie , 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 20

I like many others knew nothing about the lump on my thyroid. I was 32 when diagnosed. After inconclusive needle biopsies it was decided to have a total thyroidectomy. This turned out to save my life. Both follicular and papillary cells were found along with Hashimoto's and hypothyroidism. I went through all the radiation and such following the surgery. Since then I take from 275mcg to 350mcg of Levoxyl.

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 20

I felt like something was stuck in my throat when I swallowed. Not only was I diagnosed for thyroid cancer but I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto's. Had been having symptoms of Hypothyroid for several years but doctors dismissed my symptoms and never tested me.

Thyroid Conditions & Treatments
Comment from: Joydog, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 20

I was diagnosed as having papillary carcinoma. I wanted to know if I will have to get chemotherapy after surgery. My doctor wants to remove the tumor. He said that it is curable.

Comment from: beverlyboop, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 16

My neck became stiff, was very tired and irritable and my voice became very hoarse. Doctor ordered MRI and they discovered a mass in my neck. Further tests revealed thyroid cancer. I haven't started treatment yet. Still under going tests to see if it is localized or if it has spread to other parts of my body. It has moved my windpipe, that's why I had trouble breathing.

Thyroid Conditions & Treatments
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