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What Does It Feel Like To Have Thyroid Cancer

Final Thoughts On Knowing The Symptoms Of Thyroid Cancer

What does Thyroid Cancer look like?

The American Cancer Society described thyroid cancer as the most rapidly increasing type of cancer in the US until recently. Much of that increase, however, stems from improved methods of detection, such as the MRI or CT.

If caught early, the prognosis for cancer of the thyroid is generally good. The Cleveland Clinic reported that over 90 percent of patients treated for papillary or follicular cancer, the most common types, were still alive five years later. The five-year survival rate for patients with MTC is somewhat less: 86 percent.

Unfortunately, the outlook for a patient with anaplastic cancer is far grimmer. Mercifully, anaplastic cancer is by far the least common type.

Most cases of cancer are diagnosed after the patient or their doctor spots a lump on the neck. Anybody who spots a lump on their neck should, therefore, have their doctor examine it, even if they feel fine otherwise.

What Are The Types Of Thyroid Cancer

Differentiated thyroid cancer accounts for well over 90 percent of thyroid cancers. It develops in the cells of the thyroid that are responsible for the usual functions of the thyroid gland, like producing and releasing hormones. Most differentiated thyroid cancers, and papillary thyroid cancer in particular, dont typically act in an aggressive way and arent unusual tumors, which means the prognosis is very good, says Dr. Tufano.

Medullary thyroid cancer doesnt originate in the usual thyroid cells but in what are called C cells. These cells produce a hormone called calcitonin, which for other animals is used to decrease calcium in the bloodstream, says Dr. Tufano. About 1/4 of patients with medullary cancer have inherited the condition, says Steven I. Sherman, MD, chair of the Endocrine Neoplasia and Hormonal Disorders department at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Anaplastic thyroid cancer is the rarest and most aggressive form of thyroid cancer. It develops when multiple additional genetic changes occur that turn differentiated cancerwhich is a disease where most people live long enough to die from something else and is very slow growinginto one of the most highly aggressive forms of cancer that we have today, period, says Dr. Sherman. Anaplastic thyroid cancer only occurs in about 1,000 people in the U.S. per year, he adds.

Trouble Concentrating Or Remembering

Many patients with hypothyroidism complain of mental fogginess and trouble concentrating. The way this mental fogginess presents itself varies by person.

In one study, 22% of low-thyroid individuals described increased difficulty doing everyday math, 36% described thinking more slowly than usual and 39% reported having a poorer memory .

In another study of 14 men and women with untreated hypothyroidism, the participants showed difficulty remembering verbal cues .

The causes for this are not yet fully understood, but difficulties in memory improve with treatment of low thyroid hormone .

Difficulties in memory or concentration can happen to everyone, but if they are sudden or severe, they could be a signal of hypothyroidism.

Summary: Hypothyroidism can cause mental fogginess and difficulty concentrating. It may also impair certain kinds of memory.

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A Lump Or Swelling In Your Neck

A lump, nodule or swelling near the base of your neck that you can feel or see in the mirror is the most common symptom of thyroid cancer. Not all lumps are cancer, however. Studies show up to half of all people over the age of 60 have some type of thyroid nodule, and only a small number of them turn out to be cancerous tumors. So while it’s important to get a lump checked out, there’s no need to panic if you have one.

Does A Thyroid Cancer Lump Hurt When I Put Pressure On It

If you get overheated easily could this be a sign of ...

It is usually painless, says Lorch. If it is tender, that could mean that a tumor is growing relatively fast, which could be a warning sign. On the other hand, there are a lot of things that could cause discomfort in the thyroid gland, like inflammation, so pain is not necessarily a good or bad sign.

In fact, aside from tenderness or difficulty swallowing, symptoms of thyroid cancer are often subtle. Thyroid cancer cases are generally found during a routine checkup, or through imaging tests done because of other health concerns.

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What Is The Treatment For Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is treated with medications, radioiodine, or surgery.;

Medications used to treat hyperthyroidism include:;

  • Antithyroid drugs that work by decreasing how much thyroid hormone the body makes
  • Beta-blockers to help control symptoms of hyperthyroidism such as rapid heart rate, tremors, anxiety, and heat intolerance
  • Talk To An Oncologist About Your Symptoms

    If you want to know more about the effects of thyroid cancer, you are encouraged to talk with an oncologist who specializes in treating the condition. At Moffitt Cancer Center, patients can consult with experienced endocrinologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, head and neck surgeons and otolaryngologists in a single location. No referral is required to request an appointment; call or submit a new patient registration form online.

    • BROWSE

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    Thyroid Nodule Symptom # : A Lump In The Neck That You Can Feel

    • What to do about it?
    • Thyroid nodules that the patient can feel under the skin, which is confirmed by a doctor should almost always be examined by an ultrasound test. Depending on the characteristics of the nodule , the nodule may need a needle biopsy. We have an entire section of this website on thyroid needle biopsies.

    Tests That May Be Done

    I Have Thyroid Cancer | My Diagnosis & How I Found Out

    Blood tests: Blood tests alone cant tell if a thyroid lump is cancer. But they can help show if the thyroid is working the way it should.

    Ultrasound: For this test, a small wand is moved over the skin in front of your neck. It gives off sound waves and picks up the echoes as they bounce off the thyroid gland. The echoes are made into a picture on a computer screen. How a lump looks on ultrasound can sometimes help tell if its cancer, but ultrasound cant tell for sure.

    Radioiodine scan: For this test, a low dose of radioactive iodine is swallowed or put into a vein. Over time, the iodine is absorbed by the thyroid gland. A special camera is then used to see the radioactivity. Nodules that have less iodine than the rest of the thyroid can sometimes be cancer.

    CT or CAT scan: Its a special kind of x-ray that takes detailed pictures of the thyroid and can show if the cancer has spread.

    MRI scan: This test uses radio waves and strong magnets instead of x-rays to take pictures. MRI scans can be used to look for cancer in the thyroid, or cancer that has spread.

    PET scan: In this test, you are given a special type of sugar that can be seen inside your body with a camera. If there is cancer, this sugar shows up as hot spots where the cancer is found. This test can be very useful if your thyroid cancer is one that doesnt take up radioactive iodine.

    Thyroid biopsy

    If the diagnosis is not clear after an FNA biopsy, you might need another kind of biopsy to get more cells to test.

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    Are There Different Kinds Of Thyroid Cancer

    There are 4 main types of thyroid cancer. They are listed below. Your doctor can tell you more about the kind you have.

    • Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common kind of thyroid cancer. It may also be called differentiated thyroid cancer. This kind tends to grow very slowly and is most often in only one lobe of the thyroid gland. Even though they grow slowly, papillary cancers often spread to the lymph nodes in the neck.
    • Follicular cancer is the next most common type. Its more common in countries where people dont get enough iodine in their diet. These cancers do not tend to spread to lymph nodes, but they can spread to other parts of the body, like the lungs or bones.
    • Medullary cancer is a rare type of thyroid cancer. It starts in a group of thyroid cells called C-cells. C-cells make calcitonin, a hormone that helps control the amount of calcium in the blood.
    • Anaplastic cancer is a rare type of thyroid cancer. It often spreads quickly into the neck and to other parts of the body, and is very hard to treat.

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    Questions To Ask Your Doctor

    • Is my thyroid nodule cancer? If it isnt now, does this mean that I am more prone to developing thyroid cancer?
    • Will my children be more likely to get thyroid nodules?
    • What is the best treatment for my thyroid nodules?
    • If I have one thyroid nodule now and it goes away, will it come back?
    • What can I do at home to prevent thyroid nodules?
    • Do you have any educational materials I can read?
    • Can you recommend any websites?

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    What Are The Risks Of Removing The Thyroid Gland

    Behind your childs thyroid gland runs the recurrent laryngeal nerves that help to move the vocal folds and the parathyroid glands which help regulate their bodys calcium levels.

    Some of the major risk factors following the removal of the thyroid gland are:

    • A hoarse/breathy voice.
    • Low calcium levels.

    After surgery your child will need to take a medication to supplement the thyroid function and in some cases a medication to keep calcium levels elevated.

    Other risk factors include:

    • A scar on the neck.
    • Bleeding.
    • Fluid collection under the skin.
    • The need for future procedures such as removal of the lymph nodes from the neck.

    What Will Happen After Treatment

    Types of Thyroid Problems

    Most people do very well after treatment, but you may need follow-up care for the rest of your life. This is because most thyroid cancers grow slowly and can come back even 10 to 20 years after treatment. Your cancer care team will tell you what tests you need and how often they should be done.

    Be sure to go to all of these follow-up visits. You will have exams, blood tests, and maybe other tests to see if the cancer has come back. At first, your visits may be every 3 to 6 months. Then, the longer youre cancer-free, the less often the visits are needed.;

    Sometimes treatments may not cure your cancer. You many need to keep getting treatment and care. From time to time tests will be done to see how your treatment is working.;

    Having cancer and dealing with treatment can be hard, but it can also be a time to look at your life in new ways. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or talk to your cancer care team to find out what you can do to feel better.

    You cant change the fact that you have cancer. What you can change is how you live the rest of your life.

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    Things You Should Know If You Have A Thyroidectomy

    Ive treated hundreds of thyroid patients in my clinical practice and Ive run into many patients without a thyroid.;

    These patients are certainly more difficult to treat than run of the mill thyroid patients but Ive learned much in my years of treating them.;

    While they are more difficult, its still possible to help them lose weight and feel better.;

    It just takes the right approach;

    With that in mind, here are 5 things that I think you should know if youve had your thyroid removed based on THIS experience.;

    #1. You are now HYPOTHYROID.;

    This is probably the single most important thing that you understand if your thyroid has been removed.;

    Once your thyroid is removed you are now considered to be HYPOTHYROID.;

    It doesnt matter WHY your thyroid was removed, once it is removed you now have a sluggish thyroid.;

    I dont care if your thyroid was removed because you WERE hyperthyroid .;

    Thyroid removal is considered to be a cure for hyperthyroidism but once your thyroid is out youve effectively traded hyperthyroidism for hypothyroidism.;

    What does it mean to be hypothyroid?

    It means that you are reliant upon thyroid medication.;

    And because doctors do a terrible job at replacing lost thyroid hormone once the thyroid has been removed, you will probably always feel a little bit hypothyroid .;

    This is so important because many people will read my blog posts and if theyve had their thyroid removed they will ask if it applies to them.;

    #2. T4 isnt enough by itself for you.;

    Is It Thyroid Disease Or Thyroid Cancer

    For all thyroid conditions, Sullivan says that early detection and treatment are essential. It is not possible to tell if a lump in the thyroid is cancerous without an ultrasound exam and a fine needle aspiration biopsy, he points out. An ultrasound can help determine if a thyroid nodule is solid or filled with fluid and provide clues about whether or not its cancer.

    For definitively diagnosing thyroid cancer, youll need to have a biopsy. For this procedure, your doctor will use a needle to draw out cells from the suspicious area of your thyroid. The cells will then be examined under a microscope. Sullivan notes that its sometimes necessary to remove a lump to determine if it is cancerous.

    The good news is that thyroid conditions, such as hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer, are treatable. In most cases, hypothyroidism can be completely controlled with daily medication. And, the cure rate for thyroid cancer, which typically includes removing the gland, is more than 90 percent.

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    How Are Thyroid Nodules Treated

    Treatment depends on the type of thyroid nodule. Treatment options include:

    • No treatment/”watchful waiting.” If the nodules are not cancerous, you and your doctor may decide that you dont need to be treated at this time. You will see your doctor on a regular basis so he or she can watch for any changes in the nodules.
    • Radioactive iodine. Your doctor may use radioactive iodine to treat hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules and goiters with several nodules. The radioactive iodine is absorbed into the thyroid gland, causing the nodules to shrink. Pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant should not have this treatment.
    • Surgery. Surgery to take out the nodules is the best treatment for nodules that are cancerous, cause “obstructive symptoms” , and are suspicious .

    What Are Thyroid Nodules

    I Have Thyroid Cancer

    A thyroid nodule is an unusual growth of thyroid cells in the thyroid gland.

    The thyroid is part of the endocrine system, which is made up of glands that secrete various hormones into the bloodstream. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped organ that is located on the front of the neck, just under the Adam’s apple . The thyroid gland, which is made up of the right and left lobes connected to the isthmus , produces and releases thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones control functions such as body temperature, digestion and heart functions.

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    Can Thyroid Cancer Make You Feel Like Something In Stuck In Your Throat

    Yes, a thyroid nodule can cause a feeling like something is stuck in your throat, such as a piece of food.

    Although a thyroid nodule can sometimes cause a feeling like something is stuck in your throat, most are asymptomatic . Further, there are other diagnoses that may cause a sensation of something stuck in your throat, such as acid reflux disease or problems with your esophagus.

    Recurrence Of Thyroid Cancer

    Although thyroid cancer recurrence is not common, there are many treatment options available if it happens. If a cancer recurrence is detected in the neck lymph nodes, the best course of action is usually an operation to remove the affected node or additional treatment with RAI ablation. In order to determine the best treatment for recurrent thyroid cancer, it is critical to work with an experienced team of thyroid specialists.

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    How Is Thyroid Cancer Treated

    Because theres such a wide range of thyroid cancers with varying degrees of aggression, how the cancer is treated is also pretty individualized.

    For differentiated and medullary thyroid cancers, the primary treatment is surgical removal of half or all of the thyroid gland and, if needed, the lymph nodes in the region, says Dr. Sherman. Then, some patients will be treated with a follow-up of radioactive iodine, which is delivered in a pill that gets concentrated specifically in the thyroid cellsincluding those that are cancerousand eventually kills them off.

    The next step for patients who have undergone surgical removal of their thyroid is to receive thyroid hormone medication to make up for what their body used to produce, says Dr. Sherman. For differentiated cancer, the traditional triad was surgery, radioactive iodine, and thyroid hormone therapy, he explains. We now are being more selective in who gets radioactive iodine, and who gets and how much surgery is performed.

    Treating anaplastic thyroid cancer, however, looks a little different because of its aggression. Although there used to be no treatment for this type of cancer, there are now chemotherapy options that can allow patients with this condition to live for up to one to two years with a good quality of life, says Dr. Sherman.

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    Thyroid Nodule Symptom # : A Cough That Just Won’t Go Away Frequent Coughing And A Need To Keep Clearing Your Throat

    How Do You Feel When You Have Thyroid Cancer
    • What to do about it?
    • Thyroid nodules that cause the patient to cough should always be evaluated with an ultrasound scan. Occasionally a CAT scan is required because it is better at looking at big thyroid goiters than ultrasound is . Sometimes it just can’t be known for sure if the thyroid nodule is actually causing the coughing. Often these patients undergo a laryngoscopy . If the thyroid nodule is causing the coughing, or there is a high liklihood it is the cause, then surgery is indicated. Of course, it is now very important for you to chose your surgeon wisely. The nerves to the vocal cords are occasionally damaged by a surgeon removing a thyroid and this will cause severe horseness and a loss of voice for months or even forever. We have an entire page dedicated to helping you chose a surgeon wisely!

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