Thyroid cancer is a
disease that you get when abnormal cells begin to grow in your
thyroid gland . The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and is located in
the front of your neck. It makes hormones that regulate the way your body uses
energy and that help your body work normally.
Thyroid cancer is an
uncommon type of cancer. Most people who have it do very well, because the
cancer is usually found early and the treatments work well. After it is
treated, thyroid cancer may come back, sometimes many years after
Experts don't know what causes thyroid cancer. But like other cancers, changes in the DNA of your cells seem to play a role. These DNA changes may include changes that are inherited as well as those that happen as you get older.
People who have been
exposed to a lot of radiation have a greater chance of getting thyroid cancer.
dental X-ray now and then will not increase your chance of getting thyroid
cancer. But past
radiation treatment of your head, neck, or chest
(especially during childhood) can put you at risk of getting thyroid cancer.
Thyroid cancer can cause
- You may get a lump or swelling in your neck.
This is the most common symptom.
- You may have pain in your neck and
sometimes in your ears.
- You may have trouble
- You may have trouble breathing or have constant
- Your voice may be hoarse.
- You may have a
frequent cough that is not related to a cold.
Some people may not have any symptoms. Their doctors may
find a lump or
nodule in the neck during a routine physical
If you have a
lump in your neck that could be thyroid cancer, your doctor may do a
biopsy of your thyroid gland to check for cancer
cells. A biopsy is a simple procedure in which a small piece of the thyroid
tissue is removed, usually with a needle, and then checked.
Sometimes the results of a biopsy are not clear. In this case, you may
need surgery to remove all or part of your thyroid gland before you find out if
you have thyroid cancer.