Thyroid cancer is cancer that’s found in the thyroid gland. While it’s quite rare in the UK, like all cancer, knowing the symptoms can lead to early detection and more successful treatment.
Pharmacist at Chemist Click Online Pharmacy, Abbas Kanani said a slowly growing lump in the neck could be the first red flag.
He said: “A lump in the front, the lower part of your neck which usually feels hard and slowly gets bigger. It is not painful.”
Four other symptoms may also occur, said Kanani. These may include a hoarse voice or a sore throat.
A person with thyroid cancer may also experience difficulty swallowing or breathing or have pain in the front of your neck or a feeling like something is pressing against your neck.
Other symptoms that can follow include:
- A red face, known as flushing
- Softer poos or diarrhoea
- Weight loss
“These symptoms are very common and can be caused by many different conditions,” said Kanani.
Such symptoms could be indicative of Lyme disease, thyroid disorders, a benign multinodular goitre, and Graves’ disease.
“See a GP if you have a lump in your neck which is either new or an existing lump that’s getting bigger,” advised Kanani.
As for a hoarse voice or cough, if it lasts for three weeks or longer, it’s time to get it checked over by a doctor.
“You should ask for an urgent GP appointment or call 111 if you’re having difficulty swallowing or breathing,” Kanani urged.
The NHS warns “anyone can get thyroid cancer” and, while the disease isn’t always preventable, there are ways to minimise your risk of developing it.
“Making healthy changes can lower your chances of getting it and other types of cancer,” the health body assures.
Three tips to reduce your cancer risk are:
- Lose weight if you’re overweight
- Cut down on alcohol consumption
- Quit smoking, if you smoke.
If you do develop thyroid cancer, there are different types of the disease, Cancer Research UK says.
“The type of thyroid cancer refers to the type of cell the cancer started in,” the charity clarifies. “The most common type is papillary thyroid cancer.”
Diagnosis will also include the stage of cancer and whether the tumour has spread elsewhere in the body.
All this information will inform your doctor on the best next steps for treatment.