Unless you are a medical professional or a self-proclaimed “WebMD-er”, it’s safe to say you don’t scour the pages of medical journals in order to get the scoop on life-threatening conditions. Although we’re not huge fans of confronting those scary truths either, we know that the more educated we are about symptoms, the sooner we can get help!

That’s why we are making it our mission to give you the basics on what to look out for when it comes to your own body. Today, we are going to focus on the subject of thyroid cancer, the most common form of endocrine cancer.

What is thyroid cancer?

ThyCa, an organization that gives support to patients and survivors of thyroid cancer, defines the disease as being a clustering of “malignant cells found in the tissues of the thyroid gland.”

If you are a newbie when it comes to human physiology, the thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ that rests right at the base of your neck. The job of the thyroid is to release hormones that end up regulating your bodily functions, like breathing, heart rate, body weight, muscle strength, menstrual cycles, and cholesterol levels—just to name a few.

Symptoms to look out for

Because the thyroid gland is located at the base of your throat, most of the symptoms associated with the cancer are centered in this area.

For instance, a hallmark of serious thyroid cancer is a cough that does not seem to go away paired with difficulty swallowing. Patients also may be able to feel the nodules themselves, whether they be malignant or benign, by gently pushing along the throat area with the tips of their fingers.

Women are more at risk of being affected by this disease than men, and it is most commonly found in people between the ages of 25 and 65, especially those who have received radiation treatments in the past. When an individual is experiencing thyroid cancer, they may notice a difference in energy levels, appearance, or even mood.

With that being said, thyroid cancer is very much a treatable disease—of the four different types of thyroid cancers, almost all patients are expected to survive when diagnosed within the first 3 stages of the disease. Although some folks do have to endure invasive procedures, most are considered to be quite successful, as far as cancer treatments go.

If you feel that anything may be awry, particularly if you have a family history of the disease, it is definitely time for you to have a conversation with your doctor!

Now that you know all about the basics, get some even more in-depth info on this illness. To learn more about the symptoms associated with thyroid cancer, be sure to watch the video below. Knowing these signs just might save your life!

We’d love to hear about your experiences with this disease. Have you or a loved one ever been diagnosed with thyroid cancer? If so, did you notice any of these symptoms before your diagnosis? What advice would you give a fellow thyroid cancer patient?