Thyroid Cancer Q & A
What are the warning signs of thyroid cancer?
Your thyroid is a small gland located at the front of your neck, so most of the warning signs of thyroid cancer affect your neck and throat. For example, the disease can cause:
- A lump on your neck
- Swelling in your neck
- Pain in the front of your neck that can radiate toward your ears
- Hoarseness and voice changes
- Swallowing problems
- Breathing difficulty
- A chronic cough
Many conditions can cause these symptoms, so it’s essential to talk to a doctor and have the necessary diagnostic tests to confirm your condition.
How is thyroid cancer diagnosed?
The physicians at Ally Endocrinology provide a thorough exam and comprehensive testing to diagnose thyroid cancer. They feel your neck for lumps or other physical changes in your thyroid. Your doctor also orders blood tests to determine if your thyroid is functioning correctly. Thyroid nodules are common but usually are not cancer. The cause of is poorly understood, but may involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Some people have no symptoms. Others may notice a lump in the neck.
The team also uses on-site thyroid ultrasounds and biopsies to identify abnormal masses and test for cancerous cells. These tests can also show if the cancer has spread beyond your thyroid.
The team at Ally Endocrinology provides personalized treatment. Depending on the size and stage of your cancer, your physician could recommend watchful waiting.
However, if you have a large tumor with a high risk of metastasizing, your physician could recommend a full or partial thyroidectomy (thyroid removal surgery). After a thyroidectomy, your doctor might recommend chemotherapy or radiation to ensure the destruction of all the cancerous cells.
You might also need to have a radioactive iodine treatment to destroy any remaining thyroid cells to eliminate any microscopic cancer cells or prevent a recurrence.
Are thyroid hormones necessary after thyroid cancer?
You do need to take thyroid hormones for the rest of your life after the removal of the thyroid gland. Your thyroid produces the hormones that regulate your metabolism and many other critical body functions.
Your physician explains how to manage your health and provides a prescription to replace the hormones your body won’t be able to produce. You have routine follow-ups so your doctor can monitor your health and screen for signs of recurring cancer.
Call your nearest office of Ally Endocrinology today or make an appointment online if you have any concerns about thyroid cancer.