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What Are the Signs of Thyroid Cancer in Women?

Swollen lymph nodes are common in people with thyroid cancer.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 23 April 2014
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Among the common signs of thyroid cancer in women is a lump in the neck that is often uncomfortable to the touch. Difficulty swallowing and pain in the neck might also develop when a woman has thyroid cancer. She could also experience a hoarse-sounding voice and have swollen lymph nodes in her neck. As the thyroid is important for the regulation of hormones, a woman might also develop hormonal imbalances or even struggle with infertility as a result of this cancer. It is important to note, however, that a woman can have thyroid cancer without experiencing any symptoms — symptoms might not be evident in the earliest stages of the disease but could develop later.

One of the most common signs of thyroid cancer in women is a goiter. A goiter is swelling of the thyroid gland that is evident because of a lump that develops in the affected woman’s neck. The thyroid gland is small and positioned at the base of the neck, and healthy individuals aren't normally aware of its presence. When a woman has thyroid cancer, however, the gland becomes sensitive and swollen. For example, it may feel uncomfortable when something presses against this part of the neck, such as a hand or a high-collared shirt.

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Many other signs of thyroid cancer in women are also focused on the neck area. For example, a woman with this type of cancer might notice a gradual change in the sound of her voice. Over time, it could grow more and more hoarse. An affected woman might also have some difficulty swallowing and notice that the lymph nodes in her neck seem swollen. Additionally, a woman who has thyroid cancer may eventually note that the discomfort in her neck has worsened into actual pain.

Hormonal imbalances can also develop as a complication of thyroid cancer in women. This is due to the fact that the thyroid gland produces hormones that influence many types of body processes. For example, the thyroid gland makes hormones that are important for blood pressure and heart rate regulation. The hormones the thyroid produces even play a role in woman’s ability to conceive and successfully carry a child.

The lack of signs of thyroid cancer in women doesn't necessarily mean an absence of cancer. Most women will not have signs of the disease when it is in an early stage. As the disease progresses, however, symptoms usually develop gradually.

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