What thyroid cancer looks like?

The main symptom of thyroid cancer is a lump or swelling in the front of the neck, just below the Adam's apple, which is usually painless. Women also have Adam's apples, but they are much smaller and less prominent than a man's. Lymph nodes in the neck may also be affected and swollen. Thyroid cancer usually doesn't trigger any signs or symptoms in its early stages.

As you grow older, you may notice a lump that can be felt through the skin on your neck. You may notice changes in your voice, such as hoarseness or difficulty swallowing. Some may develop pain in the neck or throat. Or you may have swollen lymph nodes in your neck.

If you have any of these problems and you're worried, ask for a doctor's consultation. Thyroid cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the thyroid gland. Cancer starts when cells begin to grow out of control. For more information on how cancers begin and spread, see What is cancer?).

The thyroid gland is located in the lower front of the neck, below the larynx (larynx) located in the upper part of the neck and above the collarbones. Thyroid cancer (carcinoma) usually appears as a painless lump in this area. In most cases, the lump affects only one side and the results of thyroid function tests (blood tests) are usually normal. You may have an ultrasound of your thyroid, which uses sound waves to create an image of your thyroid and surrounding tissues.

Certain Results Suggest a Higher Cancer Risk. If you have a suspicious nodule, a biopsy will be performed to check for thyroid cancer. There may be changes in hair, nails, or skin, and other vague complaints that could be caused by aging, diet, stress, or dozens of other factors. Cancer cells that spread can be found when you are first diagnosed or can be found after treatment.

If you have thyroid cancer, you may have a body scan to determine if the disease has spread to other parts of your body. Discuss your options with a genetic counselor who can explain your risk for thyroid cancer and your treatment options. Because we can detect small thyroid cancers with new technology, the incidence rate of thyroid cancer has increased. It's also important to follow recommended screening guidelines, which can help detect certain types of cancer early.

According to the American Cancer Society, Thyroid Cancer Is Diagnosed in the U.S. In the US, about 53,000 people each year, most of them women. Your health care provider may recommend regular blood tests or thyroid scans to check for signs that the cancer has returned. Less than 4% of cancers found in the thyroid are thyroid lymphomas, thyroid sarcomas, or other rare tumors.

Thyroid cancer is most commonly diagnosed in women in their 40s and 50s, and in men in their 60s and 70s. These poorly differentiated thyroid cancers include medullary thyroid cancer, thyroid lymphoma, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. Parathyroid gland cancers are very rare; there are probably fewer than 100 cases each year in the United States. Thyroid disorders are more common in women, probably due to the functions of hormones, which are different in women than in men.

Thyroid nodules (growths), Russell says, affect up to 80 percent of women, but only 5 to 15 percent of those lumps and lumps are malignant. After surgery or other treatments, regular follow-up visits with an endocrinologist are very important to check if cancer returns to the thyroid or if cancer cells spread to other organs in the body. Sometimes, cancer cells can spread beyond the neck to the lungs, bones, and other parts of the body. While none of these therapies are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of thyroid cancer, several clinical studies have shown that they are reasonably effective in stopping tumor progression.


Greta Rulnick
Greta Rulnick

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