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Know Your Neck: Signs and Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

By Sara Butler

Rates of thyroid cancer have gone up over the last several decades. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, thyroid cancer diagnoses have doubled since the 1970s. Women are at a higher risk of developing it. There are many different types of thyroid cancer and not all are aggressive, but it's still important to know what to look for and bring to the attention of your doctor.

A Lump in Your Neck

Your thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located right at the front of your neck. It's not totally uncommon for lumps or bumps to show up in your neck, but any bump that you notice that doesn't go away within a couple of weeks needs to get checked out.

If you do have cancer, masses can show up on the side of your neck as well as at the front, so be on the lookout for lumps and bumps anywhere in your neck.

Issues With Swallowing

If a mass is growing on your thyroid, then it could grow so large that it impairs your ability to swallow normally. If you notice this issue and the problems don't go away, it's worth bringing to the attention to your doctor. Other issues that can cause swelling in the throat are viruses such as colds, but those usually resolve themselves in about 10 days. If it persists, then see a doctor.

Changes in Your Voice

Your thyroid is right next to your voice box, so if any changes occur in your thyroid, then you may notice changes in your voice too. A sore throat or chronic hoarseness are problems that must be addressed and ones you shouldn't sweep under the rug.

Problems Breathing, Speaking, or Eating

These are problems that aren't likely to occur unless the cancer has become really advanced. So, if you have noticed them, then you need to make sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

The idea of having cancer is scary, but thyroid cancer is usually very treatable, and your prognosis is likely to be good. According to the National Institutes of Health, the five-year survival rate for people with stage I or stage II follicular or papillary thyroid cancer is almost 100 percent. The sooner you get a diagnosis, then the better chance you have of beating it!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Shiloh, Ill.

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