The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is located in the front of the neck; a healthy thyroid produces hormones which are critical to a wide variety of functions throughout the whole body. Among its multiple roles, thyroid hormone helps regulate metabolism, growth, thermoregulation, as well as orchestrate the regulation of other hormones in the body.
If abnormal cells grow in this gland, thyroid cancer can develop. Symptoms are more distinctive in thyroid cancer than in other types of cancers because of the location of the gland and its accessibility. Luckily, it is relatively easy to treat thyroid cancer, too.
You should be cautious of these ten symptoms of thyroid cancer and follow-up with your family doctor if you are experiencing any of them. The sooner your physician can diagnose the thyroid cancer the better chance for recovery.
1. A Lump in the Neck
Even though symptoms are often absent in the earliest stages of thyroid cancer, a lump in the neck is one of the initial signs. The lump may be limited to one of the two lobes of the thyroid gland and referred to as a nodule. Not all nodules are cancerous in nature. Suspicious nodules are usually solitary; they grow rapidly; they appear hard, painless and rather fixed by routine palpation.
If you or your doctor notices swelling or an actual lump, a biopsy will be taken off the gland, which involves a small incision. Sometimes biopsies may be inconclusive, and further examination is required to diagnose the condition.