Breathing Problems. Sometimes thyroid cancer patients say it feels like they are breathing through a straw. This breathing difficulty is often a symptom of the disease.
Coughing. A cough that continues and is not related to a cold.
Trouble Swallowing. A growth or nodule on the thyroid gland may interfere with swallowing.
What Are the Risk Factors for Thyroid Cancer?
Although the causes of thyroid cancer are still being investigated, there are certain factors that may increase an individual’s risk of developing the disease:
• Gender and Age. Thyroid cancers occur approximately three times more frequently in women than men, although the reason for this difference is unknown. Women also tend to develop these cancers at an earlier age (40s to 50s) than men (60s to 70s).
• Low-iodine Diet. A diet that contains very little iodine has been associated with an increased risk of follicular thyroid cancers. This may explain why these cancers are seen less frequently in the United States, where iodine is added to salt and other foods.
• Radiation Exposure. Radiation, including the kind used for certain medical treatments, as well as fallout from nuclear weapons or power plant accidents, can increase a person’s thyroid cancer risk. In particular, childhood exposure carries a greater risk of later developing thyroid cancer than exposure as an adult.
• Hereditary Conditions. Certain inherited genetic abnormalities have been associated with the development of different types of thyroid cancer. Even if no known inherited syndrome has been identified, thyroid cancer in a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, raises your risk of developing thyroid cancer.
Immediately discuss any thyroid cancer symptoms you are experiencing with a doctor, who can help you understand what condition, if any, you may have.
Doctors often take a complete medical history to gauge your thyroid cancer risk. If you have additional risk factors, your doctor may recommend other tests that will help them better evaluate your concerns.
For more information how thyroid cancer affects Black Americans, click here.