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Thyroid cancer is the fastest growing cancer among women, by number of new cases and rates have doubled over the past thirty years and continue to increase. It is two to three times more common in women compared to men, although the cause/s for thyroid cancer, are quite unknown.
Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine cancer. It is a cancerous tumour or growth located within the thyroid gland. This can often lead to various symptoms of thyroid disease and tenderness/swelling.
With it currently being Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, I asked the thyroid community:
If you’ve had experience with thyroid cancer, what were your signs and symptoms that led you to get checked-out and diagnosed?
Comments have been kept anonymous.
“I had weight loss and dizzy spells. I was eating constantly but couldn’t put on weight and was passing out.”
“I didn’t have any symptoms, that I was aware of. I discovered a small nodule on the right side of my neck, next to my thyroid. It turned out to be a cancerous lymph node and further testing revealed a tumour in my thyroid.”
“I was sweating a lot, and even with diet and exercise I was unable to lower my weight. I was fatigued all time. I went to the doctor’s office, thinking it was probably just hormonal. But when the doctor did a physical, he found a bump in my neck, and after surgery, the biopsy result came back as papillary cancer with follicular variant.”
“My ENT told me that I had a lump on my thyroid that was very small, nothing to worry about. Eight years later I felt it growing and it became visible to the naked eye. After some much needed self-advocacy, a biopsy confirmed papillary thyroid cancer. I didn’t know at the time that the fatigue, brain fog and mood swings may have been signs of my cancer.”
“I had a lump on my thyroid that was visible just by looking at my neck. It began to grow and it hurt when I laid down at night on my pillow. Instead of having a biopsy, I had it removed & it was papillary carcinoma. The other half of my thyroid was removed two days later, but it was just shrivelled up. About five months later, the papillary carcinoma was found in two lymph nodes in my neck. I had twenty-two lymph nodes removed and a total neck dissection.”
“I had a hoarse voice, which I noticed especially in the mornings when I was answering phone calls at my desk in the office. Never thought it could mean cancer. Always get yourself checked out.”
“My neck hurt, but when I performed the steps to ‘check my neck‘, I couldn’t see anything obvious. However, an examination a week later by the doctor picked up on thyroid cancer, which I would never have expected.”
“My Hashimoto’s symptoms just seemed to get worse, along with a croaky feeling in my throat. I put it down to a bad cold for a while until I realised it wasn’t getting better after quite some time. Luckily, thyroid cancer is very treatable, but don’t ignore symptoms.”
You may add your own in the comments section below.
Read other blogs in the ‘Thyroid Patients Explain’ format here.
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Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a founding board member for the American College of Thyroidology. She is well-recognised as a crucial and influential contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her books include “Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate” and “You, Me and Hypothyroidism”.