Common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
- Neck lumps or swelling
- Swallowing difficulties
- Trouble breathing
- Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
- Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes going up to the ears
To diagnose thyroid cancer, doctors employ various tests, including a physical exam, laryngoscopy, blood hormone studies, blood chemistry studies, ultrasound, CT scans, fine-needle aspiration biopsy, and surgical biopsy.
The thyroid uses iodine, a mineral found in some foods and in iodized salt, to help make several hormones. Thyroid hormones do the following:
- Control heart rate, body temperature, and how quickly food is changed into energy (metabolism).
- Control the amount of calcium in the blood.
Thyroid nodules are common but usually are not cancer. Your doctor may find a lump (nodule) in your thyroid during a routine medical exam. A thyroid nodule is an abnormal growth of thyroid cells in the thyroid. Nodules may be solid or fluid-filled.
When a thyroid nodule is found, an ultrasound of the thyroid and a fine-needle aspiration biopsy are often done to check for signs of cancer. Blood tests to check thyroid hormone levels and for antithyroid antibodies in the blood may also be done to check for other types of thyroid disease.
Thyroid nodules usually don’t cause symptoms or need treatment. Sometimes the thyroid nodules become large enough that it is hard to swallow or breathe and more tests and treatment are needed. Only a small number of thyroid nodules are diagnosed as cancer.
Thyroid cancer can be described as either:
- Differentiated thyroid cancer, which includes well-differentiated tumors, poorly differentiated tumors, and undifferentiated tumors;
- Medullary thyroid cancer.
Risk factors for thyroid cancer include the following:
- Being between 25 and 65 years old.
- Being female.
- Being exposed to radiation to the head and neck as an infant or child or being exposed to radioactive fallout. The cancer may occur as soon as 5 years after exposure.
- Having a history of goiter (enlarged thyroid).
- Having a family history of thyroid disease or thyroid cancer.
- Having certain genetic conditions such as familial medullary thyroid cancer (FMTC), multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2A syndrome (MEN2A), or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B syndrome (MEN2B).
- Being Asian.