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Thyroid Cancer

Question:

The symptoms of thyroid cancer can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 10

I had no symptoms. My GP thought I had lupus and sent me to a Rheumatologist. After several months and as many blood draws, I was told I did not have lupus, but I had a small nodule on my thyroid. I was then sent to another doctor. An ultrasound gave the size; needle aspiration was not possible due to the location of the nodule. I was given 3 options. 1st--wait and watch; 2nd--med and hope it became smaller; 3rd--not recommended but was an option was to have the nodule removed. Since I had 2 kids in high school, and their father had died when they were six, we (all of us together) decided it did not belong there and have it removed. When I saw the surgeon to schedule, he laughed and said if I was a man the surgery would be almost an emergency since theirs were usually cancerous. When I came to in the recovery room, the nurse mentioned that I had a total thyroidectomy. I knew at that point mine was cancer.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 10

When I was 45 years old, I started having numbness over my entire body, and my mouth started to droop, similar to Bell's palsy. One day, I felt entirely strange, and I thought I was having an aneurysm. I called the doctor, and he told me to come in right away. Once I was at the doctor's office, he could feel a large lump on the right side of my neck. I had never noticed it before, but it must have been there, because it was very noticeable. He sent me to a specialist, and through radioactive testing, they discovered it was a nodule on my thyroid. The doctor scheduled me for a thyroidectomy. He said they would check for cancer during the surgery, and if it was cancerous, they would take out the whole thyroid. If it wasn't cancerous, they would only remove half of the thyroid. The primary tests showed no cancer in the large nodule, but later testing showed cancer in the smaller nodules. Ten days later, I had the other half of my thyroid surgically removed. The cancer was papillary and follicular. I did not have any treatments other than surgery, as I was in the very early stages and the cancerous nodule was small. They told me my thyroid was full of nodules. Thyroid problems run in my family, with my sister having Grave's disease at the age of 15. I used to take Synthroid, but now I take Armour on a daily basis. I have less ups and downs with the Armour.

Comment from: Piggy, 35-44 Female Published: November 12

I have a lump in my neck and it gets worse when I eat.

Comment from: Anna, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 17

I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 36. About six months before my diagnosis, I felt panicky with increased heart palpitations, claustrophobic, scared and insecure to travel long distances I have also lost my appetite. I am depressed and I experience numbness sometimes in my lips. I had my whole thyroid gland removed and did the iodine pill. I had to be away from my children for 3 weeks due to the radiation that I was reflecting. I know take 150mg thyroxide per day. The doctors are trying to keep me slightly under hyperthyroidism. I will be going to the oncology clinic in November for my check- up and I am upset and afraid. This is a very upsetting experience.

Comment from: Jay, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 27

I had a scratchy throat and on and off hoarseness. Then a feeling my throat/windpipe was swollen inside. I initially attributed the scratchiness and internal swollen feeling to allergies and associated sinus drainage. A feeling I was being choked if I turned my head certain ways. Then an obvious goiter and swollen lymph nodes at the front of my neck appeared. This all happened fairly quickly, within four to six weeks or so. Blood labs were normal. A scan of my neck that confirmed a lump on the right side of the thyroid in addition to the goiter. I then had a needle aspiration biopsy.

Comment from: Twisted Helix, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 18

I had no symptoms I recognized as being thyroid cancer. The year before my diagnosis I gained about 10 pounds, but thought it was just stress because my grandmother had been diagnosed with ALS. In retrospect, my voice became hoarse, too, but I have allergies and asthma, so I never suspected anything out of the ordinary. My nodule was discovered during a routine physical exam. I never noticed it, even though it was 3 cm when it was found.

Comment from: Simplelady, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 13

I had no symptoms. The first time I went to see the doctor, I was going to for treatment for what I thought was an ulcer. The doctor suspected I have goiter but I refused to believe it. Fifteen years later, I had my annual check-up, six months into my pregnancy, and the doctor requested a thyroid ultrasound. There is a complex mass on my right lobe, so I had biopsy after giving birth. The biopsy says "papillary carcinoma" so I had a surgery right away. During my third pregnancy, the doctor advised me to take thyroid hormone as maintenance up to this day.

Comment from: penny, 45-54 Female Published: July 30

My symptoms of thyroid cancer were hoarseness and I lost my voice altogether, eventually. I lost weight; I had headaches and my neck and joints were hurting. This is really scary.

QUESTION

Where is the thyroid gland located? See Answer
Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 19

When I was 28 yrs old, I started losing weight very fast and developed a huge appetite. I could not stop eating, yet kept losing weight. At first, none of my doctors took me seriously because I was young and looked healthy. However, I had a history of childhood cancer so I was concerned. Finally, I went to a routine health screening at work to check my skin for signs of skin cancer and the doctor noticed that I had a very large lump in my thyroid. Within a month, the lump had turned into multiple tumors and the doctor decided to remove my thyroid to be on the safe side. He thought it was unlikely that it was malignant because there were multiple cystic tumors. As it turned out, it was an aggressive form of thyroid cancer but had not yet spread outside of the thyroid. Surgery was followed by radioactive iodine and followed up regularly by body scans and ultrasound. So far, I have been in remission and symptom-free for over 10 years.

Comment from: cornynut, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 16

I was hyperthyroid for 5 years (at least that was when I was diagnosed). I was "non-symptomatic," except for nodule. The nodule grew during that 5 years, and then another one developed. After having profound hyperthyroid symptoms and the nodule started to affect my voice, I had a total thyroidectomy. The first frozen section indicated no cancer, but the second showed papillary carcinoma in the tissue on the edge of my thyroid.

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 28

I developed a cough. I coughed for months and it got to the point where I could barely speak a sentence without being interrupted by coughing. A reason for the coughing was not easily discovered, but when cancer was revealed I had surgery to remove my thyroid gland. The cancer returned and spread twice, after that, to my lymph nodes, for a total of three operations within two years. I am now in remission and checked every three months.

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