What are the Symptoms of Medullary Thyroid Cancer?

What are the Symptoms of Medullary Thyroid Cancer?

Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) is a rare type of thyroid cancer that begins in the thyroid gland’s C cells, which produce calcitonin, a hormone that helps regulate calcium levels in the blood. Symptoms of medullary thyroid cancer may include:

  • Lump or nodule in the neck: A palpable lump or mass in the thyroid area, often located in the front of the neck.
  • Thyroid enlargement (goiter): Swelling or enlargement of the thyroid gland, which can be visible or felt in the neck.
  • Hoarseness or voice changes: Changes in the voice, such as hoarseness, caused by pressure on the nerves near the thyroid.
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia): Trouble swallowing or a feeling of a lump in the throat due to the tumor pressing on the esophagus.
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing: Difficulty breathing or wheezing due to compression of the trachea or windpipe by the tumor.
  • Persistent cough or coughing up blood (hemoptysis): Chronic cough or coughing up blood may occur if the cancer has spread to the lungs.
  • Pain in the neck or throat: Discomfort, pain, or tenderness in the neck or throat area.
  • Flushing or redness of the skin: Facial flushing or redness, particularly in the cheeks and neck, due to the release of certain hormones.
  • Diarrhea and abdominal pain: Persistent diarrhea or abdominal discomfort, as MTC can cause the overproduction of certain hormones that affect the gastrointestinal system.
  • Fatigue and weakness: Generalized tiredness, lack of energy, or weakness.
  • Weight loss: Unintentional weight loss despite a regular or increased appetite.

It’s important to note that early-stage medullary thyroid cancer may not always cause noticeable symptoms, making regular check-ups and screenings crucial for early detection. If you experience any concerning symptoms or have risk factors for thyroid cancer, such as a family history of MTC or certain genetic conditions, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and appropriate testing.

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