Thyroid Cancer

January is American Thyroid Awareness Month

Protect Yourself and Your Family.

According to the American Cancer Society, in 2016 there were about 62,450 new cases of thyroid cancer reported in the United States.  More than 49,000 of the new cases were women. Women are more likely to have thyroid cancer than men. Thyroid cancer can occur in any age group, although it is much more common after the age of 30, and it increases significantly in older adults.    

What is the Thyroid Gland and What Does it Do?

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland that is located in the lower front of the neck. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. These hormones help the body use energy to properly function. Such key functions include, helping the body stay warm and maintaining the brain, heart, liver and muscles working normally.

What is Thyroid Cancer?

Thyroid cancer develops when abnormal cells begin to grow in your thyroid gland. Thyroid cancer is an uncommon type of cancer. Most people who develop thyroid cancer can recover and do very well, if it is found and treated early. After it is treated, thyroid cancer may come back, sometimes many years after treatment.

Risk Factors

  • History of radiation to the head, neck, or chest, especially in infancy or childhood
  • Family history of thyroid cancer
  • Female gender
  • Age 30 and over
  • Exposure to radiation from nuclear accidents or nuclear testing areas


Thyroid cancer does not always cause symptoms; often, the first sign of thyroid cancer is a thyroid nodule.

  • A lump in the neck
  • Neck pain or tightness
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent cough
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck

How is a Diagnosis Made?

The diagnosis of a thyroid mass can be made by physical examination. A physician will examine the patient’s neck and ask the patient to lift up their chin to make the thyroid gland more prominent. The patient may be asked to swallow during the examination, which helps to feel the thyroid and any mass in it. Diagnostic testing may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. Such tests may include:

  • Evaluation of the larynx/vocal cords with a fiberoptic telescope
  • Ultrasound of neck and thyroid
  • Blood tests for thyroid function
  • Radioactive thyroid scan
  • Fine needle aspiration biopsy
  • CT or MRI scan

How is Thyroid Cancer Treated?

Surgery is almost always the option to treat thyroid cancer, although the type of surgery is influenced by the patient’s age and tumor size.

ChicagoENT Aids in the Fight Against Thyroid Cancer

Chicago ENT offers the expertise and experience of highly skilled and fellowship trained physicians.  It is the mission of ChicagoENT to provide you with the safest, most effective and minimally invasive thyroid and parathyroid surgical options available. Chicago ENT’s very own Dr. Michael Friedman is one of the worlds’s leading thyroid and parathyroid experts and surgeons. Dr. Friedman has authored and published numerous articles and textbooks, and has lectured on thyroid and parathyroid surgery all around the world.  Dr. Friedman has performed over 5000 thyroid procedures.

That’s why more and more patients and physicians travel to Chicago ENT from across the globe for diagnoses, second opinions and advanced thyroid and parathyroid disease treatments.

To schedule your appointment with one of our multi-disciplinary teams of experts, please call us at 773.296.5500 or schedule online 24 hours a day, seven days a week-click here!