You get regular mammograms to screen for breast cancer and see a dermatologist to make sure you don’t have skin cancer, but is thyroid cancer even on your radar? Maybe it should be. While it’s true that thyroid cancer diagnoses are on the rise, we’re usually talking about papillary thyroid cancer, which is the least aggressive type.
However, not all thyroid cancers are so innocuous, so it’s smart to see a doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:
A LUMP IN YOUR NECK
The thyroid gland is located in the front of your neck, but any bump that doesn’t disappear on its own within a few weeks should be checked out, says Likhterov. “If thyroid cancer has already spread to the nearby lymph nodes, the mass might be on side of the neck where the lymph nodes are instead of in the front where the thyroid gland is.”
As a mass grows it could interfere with your ability to swallow. As with a lump, if this issue doesn’t go away in a few weeks (like a cold or other virus that might cause swelling in the throat would), it’s worth getting checked out.
“Your voice box sits right on top of your thyroid,” so changes to the gland could make you chronically hoarse, says Likhterov.
TROUBLE SPEAKING, EATING, OR BREATHING
These symptoms probably wouldn’t occur unless the cancer is very advanced, but they all warrant immediate medical attention.