Thyroid cancer – Causes and silent warning signs

In the country, around 1% of all new cancer diagnoses yearly are that of the thyroid. This butterfly-shaped gland near the base of one’s neck regulates hormones, blood pressure, heart rate, weight, and body temperature. Any abnormal cell growth in this gland leads to cancer. While such a condition can strike at any age, those more vulnerable are between 25 and 65. Herein, we discuss the subtle warning signs of thyroid cancer and its causes.

Silent warning signs of thyroid cancer
Thyroid cancer does not exhibit any symptoms or indicators in its early stages. More often than not, it is found during a routine neck exam or during a scan used to identify other conditions. But if left untreated, it may form a lump that develops as a tumor. Below are some of the silent warning signs of thyroid cancer that should prompt one to seek medical help:

Neck pain that begins at the front and seems to extend to the ears
An unusual lump or nodule that one can feel through the skin of one’s neck
A sudden change in one’s voice, including hoarseness
Trouble breathing normally; one may feel like one’s breathing through a straw
Inability to swallow with ease due to a nodule growing on the thyroid gland
A feeling that tight-fitting shirt collars are becoming increasingly restrictive
A persistent cough not caused due to cold
Inexplicable throat pain
Swollen lymph nodes

Causes of thyroid cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, the risk of thyroid cancer in women is three times higher than in men. Thyroid cancer does not have any certified causes. But iodine deficiency and exposure to radiation from power plant accidents or specific medical therapies increase the risk of developing it. People with a family history of thyroid cancer should also get tested if any signs of discomfort persist.

If one experiences early signs of thyroid cancer, it’s advised to seek immediate medical help. A healthcare professional runs a series of diagnostic tests to locate one’s tumor and establish a treatment plan. The tests can include ultrasound, chest X-ray, MRI scan, CT scan, biopsy, vocal cord exam, nodule sample testing, etc. Thyroid cancer in its early stages is curable, but ignoring the signs can spread and grow to nearby organs and make it fatal.