Thyroid cancer: Know the symptoms

Symptoms of cancer will usually depend on the area affected by the disease.

For example, the most common signs of lung cancer include a persistent cough and breathlessness.

However, in some cases the symptoms can affect areas of the body you might not expect.

This can be the case with thyroid cancer – a cancer that starts in the thyroid gland.

The thyroid gland is found in the neck in front of the windpipe.

READ MORE Two ‘unusual’ symptoms of thyroid cancer you shouldn’t ignore

One of its main jobs is to produce hormones that help regulate the body’s metabolism, which is the process of turning food into energy.

Due to its location, the most common signs of thyroid cancer impact the neck, throat and voice.

This can present as a hard lump in the front of the neck, difficulty swallowing and hoarseness.

But the NHS warned that there are other, more “unusual” signs to be wary of.

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One of these is a redder face – also known as flushing – which will be more noticeable when looking in the mirror.

This will be more noticeable in some people than others depending on your skin tone.

It might also be accompanied by a burning sensation.

According to Cancer Research UK, this is caused by having an excess of the hormone calcitonin, which regulates levels of calcium and phosphate in the blood.

This excess can occur if the person has medullary thyroid cancer – a type of thyroid cancer.

Other less common symptoms can include:

  • Softer poos or diarrhoea
  • Weight loss
  • A cough.

The more common signs, according to the NHS, are:

  • A lump in the front, lower part of your neck – the lump usually feels hard, slowly gets bigger and is not painful
  • A hoarse voice
  • A sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Pain in the front of your neck, or a feeling like something is pressing against your neck.

If you experience symptoms of thyroid cancer you should speak to your GP.

If symptoms are not caught early on there is the risk that the cancer cells can spread into surrounding tissues, which can make it harder to treat.

Thyroid cancer accounts for 3,900 new cancer cases in the UK every year.

It also causes around 410 deaths each year, making it the 20th most common cause of cancer death.

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