Get to Know your Thyroid
Virtually every organ system in the body is affected by thyroid hormones. Disease of the thyroid gland can result in over or underproduction of hormones. Thus, symptoms can be quite varied.
Early signs of thyroid disease include:
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
- Difficulty swallowing and/or breathing
- Pain in the throat or neck
- A cough that persists and is not caused by a cold
- A lump in the front of the neck, near the Adam’s apple
Your doctor may recommend a thyroid ultrasound to evaluate any of these symptoms, or to follow up abnormal blood tests. Ultrasound allows for evaluation of the thyroid and adjacent glands and soft tissues in the neck. The size and appearance of the thyroid gland is assessed with ultrasound and abnormalities within the gland can also be identified.
Some abnormalities may only require follow up ultrasound to ensure stability. Other abnormalities may require a biopsy to exclude cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, the most recent estimate of thyroid cancer in the United States is 52,890 new cases per year. There are four main types of thyroid cancer and each behaves differently. When found at an early stage, most can be treated successfully.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you have concerns about your thyroid health and have your doctor check your neck on a regular basis.
Learn more about Neck/Thyroid Ultrasounds.