The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland which produces hormones that regulates the metabolic activities of the body.
Thyroid cancer symptoms mimic other medical conditions’ symptoms such as hyperthyroidism, esophagitis, sore throat etc.
The main hormones produced by the thyroid is called thyroxine, however, a diseased thyroid or cancer growth may impair its ability to produce the same hormone which may result in devastating consequences in the body.
According to a wikipedia statistics (link underneath in the reference section), thyroid cancer is three times more common in women than in men, but according to European statistics, the overall relative 5-year survival rate for thyroid cancer is 85% for females and 74% for males.
More on the statistics, in 2010, thyroid cancer, resulted in 36,000 deaths globally up from 24,000 in 1990.
This indicates about 35% increase in the number of deaths within a span of 20years.
While it has been established that most thyroid cancer patients do have normal levels of thyroxine and thyrotropine hormones. Based on this premise, blood tests may not adequately establish if a patient is having thyroid cancer, but in some rare cases there might be a slight deviation and the signs of thyroid cancer shown may include elevated production of thyroxine hormones which may result in hyperthyroidism, a condition characterized by fast metabolic activities, irregular heart beats and heart palpitations, extreme fatigue and neurological conditions such as dizziness, and increased appetite.
The symptoms of thyroid cancer is practically nonexistent at the early stage, but as it progresses, there will be changes in the thyroid gland. One of the first thyroid cancer symptoms you notice when thyroid cancer is progressing is that you feel the gland as it becomes swollen in a lumpy or nodular form.
Benign thyroid nodules formed under age of 20years is less likely because malignant nodules have a higher probability of developing at this age.
Several studies has indicated that those who have the following conditions are at increased risk of having thyroid cancer:
- Those who has a family history of cancer.
- It is more prevalent among the women.
- Those exposed to radiation either through previous cancer radiotherapy treatments or not.
- Those who have a history of breast cancer.
Thyroid cancer symptoms present based on the type of carcinoma and the following are the types:
- Papillary thyroid cancer.
- Medullary thyroid cancer.
- Follicular thyroid cancer.
- Anaplastic thyroid cancer. This is the most aggressive of all the thyroid cancers and not easy to treat.
Anaplastic cancers may impinge on the airways by virtue of complications, this may cause breathing problems for patients, so also this does not respond to radioactive iodine treatments.
- Thyroid lymphoma.
Symptoms of thyroid cancer
The following under listed contain thyroid cancer symptoms which are likely going to be experienced as it progresses.
- Pain in the throat and neck.
- Difficulty in swallowing foods.
- Swollen lymph nodes due to geometric increase in the number of white blood cells in the body.
- Cough and hoarse voice.
- Persistent cough without cause.
- Weight loss
- Neck enlargement.
- Individuals at the stage III and stage IV of the cancer may die.
Thyroid cancer may be diagnosed via fine-needle aspiration biopsy in which a needle is inserted into thyroid nodules formed on the neck, cells may be extracted for examination. However, this is only applicable to nodules which are bigger than 1cm in size.
Other diagnostic tests that can establish thyroid cancer are computerized tomography (CT) scan, and serum calcitonin level test.
Other symptoms of thyroid cancer
- Elevated levels of serum calcitonin.
- One of thyroid cancer symptoms that is attributed to recurrent laryngeal nerve compression is changes in voice that do not go away, this may also lead to anterior neck pain that spreads to the ear.
- 3. Constant wheezing.