Normally, thyroids are thin, soft, invisible and impalpable. Once swelling and lump develop in thyroid, where is right as collar high (in the median space of neck and under adam's apple), there would be some protruding signs.
Examination of Thyroid Cancer
1. X-ray examination is mainly applied to observe the relationship between trachea and thyroid. A thyroid cancer patient in late stage may develop infiltration in trachea wall that tracheostenosis occurs.
2. Ultrasound examination not only can detect the shape, size and quantity of thyroid tumor, but also can confirm if the thyroid tumor is cystic or solid.
3. Cytological examination. Exploration is impossible applied to each case as thyroid nodules are common. Currently, most hospitals would use needle biopsy to have cytological examination.
4. Radionuclide examination can confirm the shape, location and functions of thyroid, and it has become the routine examination for thyroid diseases.
Self Examination for Thyroid Cancer
1. Note the shape of the swelling thyroid. The shapes of swelling thyroid can divide to 2 kinds. One is butterfly pattern, which is mostly occurring in patients of local thyroid swelling, thyroiditis or hyperthyroidism. The other is a round lump developing in part of thyroid and is tending to develop in patients of thyroid cyst, thyroid adenoma and thyroid cancer.
2. The size of lump. If the lump appears as diffuse or multiple nodular swelling, then it mostly can be a local thyroid swelling. Generally, the diameter of a single nodule of benign tumor or cyst would be around 2 cm. But it is suspected to thyroid cancer when the diameter of a nodule is over 2 cm.
3. The smoothness and hardness of the lump. Touch the surface of lump with thumb and index finger. If the surface is generally smooth, then it tends to be local swelling thyroid. To the lump with rough surface, it possibly is thyroiditis. If only a single nodule is swelling and come with general smooth surface, that may be adenoma. A single swelling nodule with rough surface and solid feeling is doubted of thyroid cancer.
4. The growth speed of lump. Local thyroid lump grows slow that the pathogenesis can be few or even several decades. But for a benign tumor or cyst, the pathogenesis ranges from months to several years. Thyroid cancer increases with a high speed and its size can obviously increase in one or two months.
5. Any lymph nodes can be touched around the lump. If hard lymph nodes are palpable around thyroids, a patient is highly suspected of taking thyroid cancer with local lymph node metastases.