Thyroid Awareness Month - Premier Surgical TN

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be over 50,000 new cases of thyroid cancer and over 2,000 deaths from this cancer this year. 

What is thyroid cancer?

Thyroid cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is the butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck. It releases hormones that are vital in regulating metabolism and other bodily functions such as breathing, regulating body temperature, and maintaining muscle strength.

Thyroid cancer can occur when the cells in the thyroid gland grow out of control and crowd the normal cells in the gland. 

When left unmanaged, it can spread to other areas of the body, such as the lungs and the bones. 

Risk Factors 

The following factors can increase your risk of developing thyroid cancer:

  • Being female
    Women are twice more likely to develop thyroid cancer than men.
  • Family history
    Like many types of cancer, your risk of developing thyroid cancer increases if you have a family history of it.
  • Exposure to radiation
    Radiation is a known risk factor for thyroid cancer. Your risk depends on how much radiation you are exposed to and what age you start getting it. You have a much higher risk if you have received radiation therapy at a young age.
  • Being overweight or obese
    The risk of developing thyroid cancer increases with one’s body mass index (BMI). The higher your BMI is, the higher is your risk. 

Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer can cause any of the following signs and symptoms:

  • A lump in the neck (in some cases it may grow quickly)
  • Pain felt in front of the neck
  • Hoarseness of voice that does not go away
  • Swelling of the neck
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trouble in swallowing
  • A constant cough that’s not caused by a cold

If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, it’s important to see your provider immediately. Although some of these symptoms can be due to benign (non-cancerous) thyroid lump, it’s still important to see a specialist to rule out the cancer diagnosis.

Treating Thyroid Cancer

There are different treatment options for thyroid cancer. Some of the most common options include surgery, radioactive therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted drug therapy. 

Talk with your specialist and your family in deciding which treatment option would suit you best. There are a number of factors including your cancer stage, your health status, and potential side effects to consider. Some treatment options can affect your ability to conceive, so it’s important to talk thoroughly with your provider about it.

Premier Surgical Associates of Knoxville and Cleveland, TN have a team of surgeons who specialize in diagnosing and treating a variety of cancers, including thyroid cancer. We take pride in doing a highly personal, patient-focused approach in treatment. 

To learn about thyroid cancer treatment, visit

To request an appointment at Premier Surgical office near you, please visit our Appointment Request page