The earlier medullary thyroid cancer is found, the more likely it can be stopped and treated. Unfortunately, there may be no early warning signs of this type of cancer.
The noticeable signs and symptoms like hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, or throat lumps often don’t appear until the tumor has advanced.
While not everyone will have the same symptoms, here are some of the most common signs of medullary thyroid cancer:
- 颈部肿块. A single lump on the front of the neck is the most common symptom. It’s often discovered during a routine physical exam. Lumps in the thyroid area and neck are usually benign, but if you notice unusual swelling in your neck, contact your doctor immediately.
- Neck pain.颈部前面的疼痛可能与甲状腺肿瘤的生长有关。这种疼痛也可以延伸到耳朵。
- Hoarseness.The nerve that controls your vocal cords runs alongside the trachea near the thyroid. If cancer has spread to that vocal cord, it can affect the quality of your voice.
- 咳嗽。Thyroid cancer can sometimes cause a persistent cough. You should see your doctor if you have a cough that’s unrelated to a cold or one that doesn’t go away.
- Trouble swallowing (dysphagia).If a thyroid tumor becomes large enough, it can press on the esophagus and make swallowing difficult.
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea).Similar to trouble swallowing, if a thyroid tumor is large enough, it can push against the windpipe and interfere with breathing.
Other, more rare or unusual signs of medullary thyroid cancer that you should be aware of include:
- Severe diarrhea.This is a very rare symptom sometimes found in people with advanced medullary thyroid cancer. The tumor produces high levels of calcitonin, a hormone that may cause severe diarrhea.
- Cushing syndrome.在极少数情况下，肾上腺肿瘤会导致Cushing syndrome, a condition that arises when a tumor secretes hormones that the thyroid wouldn’t normal create. Cushing syndrome associated with medullary thyroid cancer is uncommon. The syndrome is more commonly caused by the pituitary gland overproducing adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), or by taking oral corticosteroid medication.
- 面部冲洗。A red face, neck, or chest paired with warm or burning sensations can be a sign of many conditions. Tumors or other abnormal growths can overproduce hormones, triggering flushing. The symptom can also be a response to certain drugs, foods, alcohol, or menopause.
- 骨痛。People with medullary thyroid cancer may have bone pain if the cancer has spread to form bone lesions.
- Lethargy.Many people with advanced cancer may feel physically, emotionally, or mentally tired. The causes of fatigue during cancer are complex and not well understood.
- Weight loss.Unusual weight loss is a symptom of advanced medullary thyroid cancer that has spread beyond the thyroid into other organs.