The Thyroid is a gland in the neck shaped a bit like a butterfly. It is located in the middle of the neck just below the “Adam’s Apple”. It secretes hormones that regulate metabolism. Most people come to a surgeon if they have thyroid nodules, or an enlarged thyroid (goitre). Occasionally, people with an overactive thyroid may also require thyroid surgery to control related medical problems.
Thyroid cancer can develop within a thyroid nodule, and although thyroid nodules are relatively common, cancer is not particularly common. In Australia, about 2500 people will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer this year.
Symptoms of thyroid cancer may include:
- Lumps in the neck or throat
- Trouble with breathing or swallowing
- A hoarse voice or a cough that does not improve with time
A diagnosis of thyroid cancer is best made with a full examination of the head and neck including examination of the larynx (voice box), an ultrasound and a needle biopsy. Cure rates for thyroid cancer are generally excellent if treated properly.