WHAT IS A THYROID TUMOR?
The thyroid gland, one of the hormone-producing
organs, is situated at the front of the neck, directly in front of the windpipe. Thyroid
regulates all body functions. Any abnormal growth in this gland whether cancerous or
benign is referred to as a thyroid tumor. These growths may
be cystic or solid. Cancerous thyroid nodules can spread to
other parts of the body and are life threatening. Early symptoms of both types are the
Both sexes and all ages. Benign nodules are more
common in women than men and malignant ones are more likely in children between ages 4 and
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Swelling or lump in the thyroid gland.
- Pain and tenderness in the thyroid gland.
- Difficulty in swallowing.
- Hoarseness of voice.
- Breathing difficulty (rare).
- Symptoms of hypothyroidism or
hyperthyroidism depending on the whether the tumor is secreting hormone or not.
RISK INCREASES WITH
Radiation treatment during childhood - even in small
doses - to the head, neck and upper chest.
HOW TO PREVENT
Avoid radiation treatments to the neck for acne, tonsillitis, enlarged thymus
gland or other minor conditions.
- Visible swelling.
- History and physical exam by a doctor.
- Laboratory tests, such as Ultrasonography, CAT scan and
blood studies of thyroid function.
- Biopsy, if needed.
- Spread of a malignant tumor to other parts of the body,
requiring radical surgery to remove lymph nodes and muscles of one side of the neck.
- Hypothyroidism or hypoparathyroidism caused by inadvertent injury to the thyroid or
parathyroid glands during surgery.
- Permanent hoarseness and loss of voice following nerve
injury during surgery.
Usually curable with surgery or a combination of surgery
and radioactive-iodine treatment. Surgery may be required to aspirate a cystic tumor or to
remove a solid tumor and the affected lobe of the thyroid.
- After thyroid surgery, when rising from a lying to a
sitting position, place a pillow under the head and support it with hands to prevent
- Speech therapy, if the voice is affected after surgery.
- If voice is lost, special equipment is available to assist
Your doctor may prescribe:
- Antithyroid medications OR replacement thyroid hormone.
- Radioactive iodine to treat cancer (I-131).
- Pain relievers.
Resume your normal activities as soon as symptoms improve
CALL YOUR DOCTOR, IF
- You have thyroid enlargement or thyroid nodules.
- The following occurs after surgery:
- Symptoms of hypothyroidism (fatigue, puffy face, rapid
weight gain, coarse hair and decreased sex drive).
- Bleeding, pain or swelling at the surgical site.
- Twitching muscles.
- Breathing difficulty.
- New, unexplained symptoms develop.
- Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.