About 80 percent of thyroid cancer cases are papillary thyroid cancer. Also known as papillary thyroid carcinoma, this cancer can develop slowly without us noticing or even experiencing any symptoms. Although the exact cause of this cancer is vague, the first sign is a painless lump on the thyroid area or in front of the neck. The incidents of thyroid cancer in the United States is constantly increasing and it is reason enough for us to be aware of the signs and symptoms. So read on and be on a lookout for the conditions that might lead to the most common type of thyroid cancer.
Papillary Thyroid Cancer: The Signs And Symptoms
1. A lump in the neck
The most prevalent presentation of thyroid cancer is a thyroid nodule. Thyroid nodules are lumps that usually arise within an otherwise normal thyroid gland. These abnormal growths of thyroid tissue can be felt and seen as a lump in the front of the neck. But just to remind you, an enlarged thyroid gland is not cancer, it is a goiter. As a matter of fact, 95 percent of thyroid nodules are non-cancerous. The cancerous lumps are not normally painful. But as soon as you get a lump, you should consult your doctor immediately regardless if it’s painful or not.
2. Neck Pain
There are various conditions that cause pain and restricting the motion of the neck. One of these conditions is thyroid cancer. The pain ordinarily begins in the front of the neck and in some cases can extend to the ears and jaws. You need to consult your doctor and ask for further medical investigations when your neck pain is bothering for more than 6 weeks or when the pain becomes severe.
3. Hoarse voice
— U.S Health Digest (@USHealthDigest) May 11, 2017
Our thyroid gland sits just right below our larynx or voice box. When there is a thyroid nodule, the lump may be pressing on the voice box causing voice change or hoarseness. A bacterial or viral infection can be the cause of this condition. If you have this symptom for more than 3 weeks, you need to see your doctor and have some tests.
4. Swollen lymph nodes
— OOA (@OOALLC) May 9, 2017
One of the common symptoms of thyroid cancer is the enlargement of the lymph nodes. Thyroid cancer can spread everywhere in the body through the lymph nodes. They usually have the ability to help our body fight infections but when lymph nodes become swollen, they make us ill or give us a sore throat. And when the person is no longer sick yet the lymph nodes stay swollen for a long period of time, then there’s a possibility of thyroid cancer.
5. Difficulty in swallowing or breathing
Thyroid tumors can also present themselves with signs of esophageal or tracheal compression leading to a difficulty in swallowing or breathing. Large nodules can press against other neck structures and cause problems in breathing especially when lying down flat.
6. Difficulty Eating
Similar to number 5, the large nodules contract in the neck area which causes the difficulty in swallowing food. However, these symptoms usually happen at a late stage of cancer. It is crucial to have yourself checked when this sign happens to you.
7. Persistent coughing
When you have a persistent cough but not cold-related, then it might be a sign of papillary thyroid cancer. The usual cause of continuous coughing is a thyroid nodule but it is normally benign. And in most situations, a persistent cough is not enough to diagnose thyroid cancer. But it would always be best to consult your doctor if you think your cough is getting worse.
Watch this video and find out when and how to treat papillary and follicular thyroid cancer!
More often than not, cases of thyroid cancer are sporadic which means there’s no noticeable danger determinant for its development. But just like most of the thyroid disorders, it is more common to occur in women. According to research, exposure to ionizing radiation to the neck area at a young age can be a factor of a thyroid cancer. It can also happen in areas where there is a high incidence of goiter primarily due to iodine deficiency. Papillary cancer has a high cure rate with 10-year survival rates for all its patients estimated at 80-90 percent, but every patient should follow and undergo proper treatment. Consulting your doctor is a must as soon as you see signs and symptoms. Have a healthy day!
Do you know other signs of papillary thyroid cancer? You can share it with us in the comments below!