Thyroid cancer symptoms: all you need to know about thyroid tumor in women and men

Thyroid cancer symptoms: all you need to know about thyroid tumor in women and men

October 19, 2019 Off By Julia Anderson
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Thyroid cancer is not considered the most common form; on average, this type of cancer makes up about 1% of all types of various organs. Most often, women, as well as people over 40, are exposed to it. Moreover, with every decade, the risk of its development increases by several percent.

Why people get thyroid cancer?

As with most other diseases, thyroid cancer has various causes. At high risk are people with goiter. According to studies, it is the cause of 80% of the entire oncology of this organ. In addition, women and men with: should pay more attention to their health:

  • signs of chronic inflammatory processes in the thyroid gland;
  • prolonged inflammatory processes or tumor formations (even benign) in the reproductive system and mammary glands in women;
  • thyroid adenoma or cystadenoma, which is a precancerous condition;
  • hereditary predisposition to cancer, tumors of internal secretion tumors or dysfunctions;
  • a number of hereditary genetic conditions of the thyroid gland;
  • hormonal changes in the body and conditions associated with them (pregnancy, lactation, hormonal failure, menopause);
  • bad habits, especially with smoking.

The occurrence of thyroid cancer is a lot of different factors, one of which is a genetic predisposition, as well as a change in hormonal levels.

A separate line should also be noted the possibility of exposure to x-ray or radioactive radiation on the entire body or region of the head and neck, especially for children and adolescents. In addition, working conditions associated with heavy metals and fumes have a negative effect that increases the risk of thyroid cancer. However, the greatest risk is a combination of these factors.

A malignant tumor is formed from cells of any type. There are epithelial tumors (capable of germinating through the outer membrane), as well as non-epithelial (developing only inside the gland).

Depending on which cells predominate in the composition of the malignant neoplasm, as well as on the presence of the structural features of the tumor, the following types of thyroid epithelial cancer are distinguished:

Papillary carcinoma

The tumor is similar to a capsule, from which many papillae leave. It is highly differentiated, that is, it grows slowly, for a long time does not go beyond the gland. Typically, such a tumor is found in women 30-50 years of age. In men, it is 3 times less common.

Follicular thyroid cancer

Malignant changes occur in the follicles. The tumor consists of individual elements resembling vesicles. This type of cancer is differentiated, but it is more aggressive than papillary. Only in the third part of women the tumor does not metastasize; in other cases, the malignant cells gradually penetrate the blood vessels, lymph nodes, bones and lungs. People under the age of 50 are more likely to recover. In elderly patients, distant metastases are more often formed, which reduces the chances of recovery.

A medullary tumor consists of parafollicular cells. It is able to germinate through the membrane of the thyroid gland and spread to neighboring muscles, and also affects the trachea. This disease occurs with approximately the same frequency in both women and men. Typically, this type of cancer develops after 45 years. The disease progresses rapidly.

Anaplastic thyroid cancer

Anaplastic tumor develops from B cells, is undifferentiated. There is a rapid increase in the number of cells of atypical structure. At the same time, they completely cease to fulfill their functions. This form of thyroid cancer is the most aggressive, has the worst prognosis.

In 70% of cases, papillary cancer occurs, in 20% – papillary-follicular cancer, in 5-8% – medullary and in 2% – anaplastic.

In approximately 20% of cases, oncology occurs against the background of advanced benign thyroid diseases, such as thyroiditis and nodular goiter. Perhaps the formation of metastatic (secondary) thyroid cancer as a result of the ingress of malignant cells from other organs.

Thyroid Cancer Symptoms and common risk factors

The main symptoms of thyroid cancer in the early stages do not give a clear clinical picture of the disease, and most oncologists say that they are completely absent, since this pathology develops without specific signs.

Symptoms of thyroid cancer: non-specific manifest

Clear signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer

Non-specific symptoms of thyroid cancer are signs that can occur with many other diseases, and they are not enough to diagnose. To these most likely manifest (explicit) symptoms, experts include:

  • the formation of a tissue seal movable or connected to the skin on the neck (its rate of increase is different, in some cases quite fast);
  • swelling of the lymph nodes located in the lower third of the neck, as well as in the larynx and trachea;
  • discomfort and pain in the neck and behind the ears (they do not always occur, but only when the tumor grows in neighboring tissues or squeezes the nerve fibers of the follicular epithelium of the gland);
  • an increase in body temperature in the absence of any signs of respiratory and other inflammatory diseases;
  • the appearance of hoarseness, coughing and difficulty swallowing, and with stridor (squeezing the trachea) and difficulty breathing with light physical exertion;
  • dysphonia (loss of voice due to tumor pressure on the laryngeal branch of the vagus nerve);
  • the appearance of a vasculature on the neck with neoplasm pressure on the parathyroid blood vessels.

When examining patients who have filed such complaints, doctors suspect cancer immediately. Although it must be emphasized that the formation of a node in the thyroid gland in only one case out of twenty is a sign of oncology.

Symptoms of thyroid cancer: latent form

In the initial stages, thyroid cancer develops in a latent (latent) form. And it will be useful to have an idea of ​​what symptoms of thyroid cancer are detected in patients during examination by endocrinologists.

Symptoms of Papillary Thyroid Cancer

  • The initial nodular formation is found on one side of the thyroid gland, has a rounded shape with non-palpable microscopic protrusions in the form of papillae, the formation can be mobile or motionless when displaced, in most cases there is no discomfort or pain;
  • ultrasound can reveal the germination of a tumor in the capsule of the gland and in the surrounding tissue;
  • the enlargement of the node occurs slowly, often the diameter of the formation does not exceed 10 microns, but can reach 40 microns or more;
  • enlargement of the cervical lymph nodes from the neoplasm, enlarged nodes are quite soft;
  • with a tumor in one lobe of the thyroid gland, a defeat of the opposite lobe is often observed;
  • in the blood serum the level of the tumor marker is increased – thyroid globulin hormone thyroglobulin;
  • the content of CEA (cancer-embryonic antigen) in the blood is increased;
  • functional disorders of the thyroid gland, as a rule, are absent.

To make an accurate diagnosis, the symptoms of papillary thyroid cancer are not absolutely evidence-based without immunochemical blood tests and fine-needle puncture thyroid biopsy and histological examination of punctate.

Symptoms of Follicular Thyroid Cancer

  • the thyroid gland is significantly enlarged, the increase is diffuse;
  • gland tissues are sclerotized, the appearance of calcified lipid-protein formations (psammosis bodies) is noted in it;
    solid tumor formation (solid) – rounded or in the form of cords (trabecular);
  • the tumor consists of atypical A-cells (follicular cells) of the thyroid gland with the inclusion of a thyroid colloid;
    in most cases, the tumor is encapsulated, that is, it has a shell;
  • extrathyroid invasion is observed – tumor cells penetrate the surrounding soft tissues and blood vessels;
    lymph nodes in the neck are hypertrophied;
  • increased levels of thyroglobulin and CEA in blood serum;
  • thyroid dysfunction manifests itself in the form of hypothyroidism – a decrease in the level of thyroid hormones.

The manifest symptoms of follicular thyroid cancer – pain in the area of ​​the tumor, coughing, hoarseness, weakness, hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), weight loss – appear with the progression of the disease.

Symptoms of medullary thyroid cancer

  • a solitary tumor (single node), affects the parenchyma of the gland and leads to its fibrosis;
  • the tumor is formed by parafollicular C-cells of the gland (producing the hormone calcitonin);
  • the level of CEA (cancer-embryonic antigen) in the blood serum is very high;
  • the level of calcitonin in the blood is increased (more than 100 pg / ml);
  • in the tissues of the gland there is an amyloid – a glycoprotein compound synthesized by malignant cells;
  • high parathyroid hormone in the blood of the parathyroid glands (with the appearance of metastases of medullary cancer).

The most important diagnostic sign of medullary cancer is an increase in calcitonin secretion. An excess of this hormone causes symptoms of medullary thyroid cancer, such as decreased muscle strength, increased blood pressure, diarrhea, a feeling of heat and flushing of the skin.

As endocrinologists oncologists note, this type of cancer develops faster than others, giving metastases to the lymph nodes of the neck, trachea and nearby muscle tissue, as well as to the lungs, skeletal bones and liver. Moreover, distant metastases of the very first affects the liver.

Symptoms of thyroid cancer recurrence

Obvious symptoms of thyroid cancer recurrence – with malignancy of tissue residues after its removal or with damage to regional lymph nodes – are detected only during regular examination of patients with ultrasound and blood tests.

The presence of a relapse of thyroid cancer is indicated by:

  • detection of calcitonin in the blood;
  • increased levels of thyroglobulin in the blood;
  • high blood levels of epidermal growth factor (EGF), which promotes cell proliferation.

To visualize cancer cells of any organs after treatment with papillary or follicular carcinomas, patients undergo scintigraphy with the introduction of radioactive iodine isotopes. Malignant tissue cells with a relapse of thyroid cancer capture iodine, which is reflected on the monitor of the tomograph.

As you have seen, thyroid cancer has many features of its manifestation. That is why it is so important to pay attention to the slightest changes in the state of health that may be associated with this endocrine gland. Early diagnosis of any cancer can achieve success in its treatment, and a malignant thyroid tumor is no exception. The main thing is to try to prevent the development of pathology to the stage when the symptoms of thyroid cancer become apparent.

Symptoms of thyroid cancer in women

One of the clear signs of thyroid cancer is a swelling of a neck

The specificity of the disease is a high percentage of diagnostic errors. This is due to the absence of pronounced symptoms of thyroid cancer in women in the early stages.

The detection of the disease is complicated even more due to the presence of background ailments (goiter, thyroiditis): in these situations, doctors lose their sense of cancer alertness and pay attention only to concomitant pathology.

Meanwhile, the fact of the presence of a tumor (even if it is less than a centimeter) is easily determined by ultrasound.

Signs that should be the motivation for visiting the ultrasound room:

  • the feeling that the collar of clothes has become narrower;
  • the presence of a lump in the throat;
  • discomfort associated with swallowing food;
  • compression in the neck (see photo);
  • changing the sound of the voice;
  • shortness of breath, aggravated by movement of the neck.

If the presence of the tumor is confirmed, a small amount of material is drawn from the thyroid gland using a needle and syringe. In the laboratory, experts issue a verdict on the category of neoplasm (benign / malignant).

Thyroid cancer symptoms in men

The thyroid cancer clinic is similar in men and women. There are not many symptoms, the picture of this disease is not specific. At the initial stages, the patient may experience a feeling of discomfort when swallowing and suffocation, coughing and hoarseness of the voice may occur.

Not everyone with carcinoma knows these symptoms. The neck can be enlarged and motionless due to the large volume of the gland; sometimes it is possible to palpate carcinoid nodes.

When metastases are already moving through the body, lymph nodes increase, pain and dysfunction occur in the affected organs.