Thyroid cancer: Know the symptoms
Targeting around 3,900 adults every year in the UK, thyroid cancer is the 20th most common cancer.
Found in the butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck, this type of cancer is more common in women than in men, according to Cancer Research UK.
As with many other cancers, the sooner thyroid cancer is detected, the better the prognosis, Dr Deborah Lee, from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, told Express.co.uk.
Therefore, symptom awareness is front and centre especially since the first sign “is usually painless”.
The doctor shared that the first red flag usually strikes in the front of your neck, just below and in front of the Adam’s apple.
READ MORE ‘Unusual symptom’ when you go to the toilet could be red flag for thyroid cancer
She said: “The first sign of thyroid cancer is usually a painless swelling in the front of the neck.
“The swelling is often hard or firm to touch and is slowly enlarging.”
The doctor explained it can feel like something pressing in on your neck and you may also experience enlarged lymph nodes in this area.
The good news is that most people with a lump in their neck won’t have thyroid cancer. Fortunately, other symptoms could hold clues.
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As the thyroid cancer grows, it starts pressing down on surrounding structures.
Dr Lee said: “This gives rise to pain in the neck, hoarseness of the voice and difficulty swallowing.
“In due course, it can cause a persistent cough and shortness of breath.
“Thyroid cancer can cause systemic symptoms including diarrhoea, facial flushing and weight loss.”
While these symptoms don’t guarantee you have thyroid cancer, it’s still important to get them checked, the doctor advised.
Dr Lee said: “See your GP if you have any symptoms suggestive of thyroid cancer.
“The majority of people with any of these symptoms will not have thyroid cancer – so it’s important to get this into perspective – but if you have symptoms such as a swelling or lump in your neck – don’t leave it – see your GP without delay.”
Furthermore, the NHS adds that thyroid cancer is “quite rare” in the UK.
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