The thyroid gland does a lot of important jobs in your body. For example, this gland manages your metabolic rate and contributes to the healthy functioning of your heart, digestion, muscles and bones.
Generally, you don't notice that your thyroid is even there unless it develops a problem. While many thyroid conditions are harmless and easily treated, some are more serious. For example, some people develop cancer in their thyroid. What are the signs that you may have a problem?
1. A Lump in Your Neck
Your thyroid usually works behind the scenes and isn't noticeable. If you have a problem with the gland, then you may notice a lump start to develop at the front of your neck. Thyroid lumps aren't necessarily anything to worry about. They're often caused by the gland enlarging and aren't sinister.
In some cases, however, neck lumps are a sign of thyroid cancer. This is more likely to be the case if the lump is hard and fixed in one place and if it continues to grow. Plus, other symptoms may indicate a more serious problem.
2. Swollen Neck Glands
If you do notice a lump on your throat, check the lymph glands in your neck. Feel around the front of your neck, under your chin, behind the ears and the back of your neck. If you can feel lumps, then your glands are enlarged. This may just be a sign of an infection; however, cancer can also make your glands flare up.
3. Problems With Your Throat
Thyroid cancer can give you other problems that you may just pass off as a cold or bug. For example, you may have a sore throat that doesn't get any better after a few days. Your throat may also hurt when you eat, or you may find it hard to swallow without pain. Sometimes, your voice may also sound croaky.
While all of these symptoms can be signs of thyroid cancer, remember that they don't mean that you have definitely have cancer. Thyroid cancer is relatively rare, and you're more likely to have a different problem.
It is, however, important to visit your doctor or health care clinic to have your symptoms checked out. If you do have cancer, then early diagnosis and treatment is the best option. Even if your problem is less serious, you may need to have it treated sooner rather than later.