We understand that people with cancer are worried about coronavirus. Here is the latest guidance. We will update it regularly.

Thyroid cancer

A place for people affected by thyroid cancer to support one another, ask questions, and share their experiences.

Worried

TJT76
Posted by

Good morning

I had a hemithyroidectomy on the 18th Dec 2019 and found out on 10th Jan 2020 that it was papillary thyroid cancer.  They rescanned my thyroid a few weeks later and found a swollen lymph node in the isthmus near where they cut out the cancer.  It wasn’t there on my previous scan in September where they found the nodules had changed. They said it was too small to biopsy and not to worry because they thought it was a reactive lymph node and would rescan in June to make sure. The problem I now have is that my neck is swollen and feels tight above my scar and it feels strange when I swallow.  

My concern is whether it has grown because it’s more than a reactive lymph node. It has been 5 months since my surgery so if it was a reactive lymph node wouldn’t it have gone down by now?  It’s been swollen for 4 days and I am quietly panicking that it has come back. 

Has this happened to anyone else? How long should I leave it before contacting the gp? 

Stay safe

T

Lass
Posted by

Hey there,

Welcome to the forum, though I'm sorry you need to be here.

At a guess then I would say that yes, a reactive lymph node should have gone down by now. Usually they are reacting to the dead and damaged cells after an operation, so clearing them out and recycling them into your system. So 5 months on, you should be all good on that front.

One thing I'm wondering is how often have you been poking it and pressing on it? Too much poking and prodding can upset it and make it swell and be a bit angry. So if you think you've been touching it too much, I'd leave it alone for a week or two and ssee how it goes after it's left alone.

If you don't think the above is true, then I think I'd be tempted to just give the GP a ring and see if your ultrasound could be brought forward at all. The issue is, even if it is a cancer infected lymph node that will need removed, they might not do it during the current pandemic. So you might have to still wait until this is over to have it operated on. So it's down to you. Are you better living with a maybe, or better possibly living with a definite but a delay? Personally, I think I'd want to know and then wait if needed - but it's entirely your choice.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on!

Lass

xx

I have no medical training, everything I post is an opinion or educated guess. It is not medical advice.

TJT76
Posted by

Hi Lass

Thank you for reply and advice. The only time I touch my neck is when I’m massaging bio oil into my scar. The swelling is above the scar which is an area I don’t touch. The pain in my neck was really worrying me so I contacted the Macmillan nurse for some advice.  It resulted in the consultant ringing me and we had a chat about the symptoms I was experiencing and I now have an ultrasound on Wednesday.  If they find anything they will biopsy it there and then and then we will go from there. 

I am someone who would rather know and have to wait for treatment.  It’s the worrying of is it isn’t it that I find hard.  I also have the problem that my daughter is autistic with high anxiety and a major issue with germs.  She actually took my diagnosis a lot better than I thought the first time round but if it has come back during this time I think she would be happier me waiting anyway. She has left the house a handful of times for exercise only since the start of March (before lockdown)  and goes mad every time we need to go shopping!  We are hiding the appointment on Wednesday from her because she will never let me back in the house! 

Thank you again for your help, I will keep you updated.

T

LittleGibbon
Posted by

I'm glad some action is being taken. Do let us know what happens. 

I totally agree - knowing is easier than waiting and worrying, which is totally draining. I have an appointment on Monday which kind of came out of the blue (I am due to have the other half of my thyroid removed later this year, but didn't expect anything to happen about that for some months. So when the hospital phoned on Thursday to ask me to come in on Monday I started to panic!) 

This thread isn't about me though! Do hope you find out soon what's going on.  

LittleGibbon
Posted by

Best wishes to your daughter too. What a difficult time this must be for her, and for you trying to help her through it.

TJT76
Posted by

Thank you for your reply. I will keep you updated. Good luck for Monday. 

T. 

Lass
Posted by

Thinking of you today! I hope you get some answers and your daughter doesn't freak out too much!

Lass

xx

I have no medical training, everything I post is an opinion or educated guess. It is not medical advice.

TJT76
Posted by

Hi, i had the ultrasound this morning and the radiologist said that everything was fine and he couldn’t see anything to explain my symptoms and swelling and to talk to the consultant about it.  He never even mentioned the reactive lymph node from last time was there or not. The consultant rang me two hours later and we had a really good chat, he had reviewed the scan already and said that the node that was there in Jan is still there but hasn’t changed in anyway and was roughly the same size as it was so he wasn’t worried about it.

He asked me about all my symptoms again and what they were like before surgery, after surgery and now and he thinks that the neck pain, ear pulling, swallowing, hoarse voice and strange sensations may not have been related at all to the thyroid cancer and could be a different issue, which is good in a way because it means the cancer hadn’t affected me that much. The down side to that is why did all of it disappear after surgery and then come back now! If I hadn’t of had all those symptoms for the past 3 years and having ultrasounds on my thyroid then the cancer may not have been picked up until it was a lot bigger.  

He has suggested gaviscon for now to see if the hoarse voice and swallowing issue could be acid reflux and to carry on with the amitriptyline for the next 2-4 weeks and see if it settles, if not then I need to make contact and we will then see what happens or if I get more symptoms to get in contact with him.  Once the covid 19 has settled and the clinic have restarted he will get me in so he can see me in person.

I am relieved that there isn’t any signs of the cancer returning but at the same time frustrated because it’s not helping me get any answers that I need, I feel as though Ive gone backwards. I had two months once the surgery pain had gone of having a normal feeling neck and now it feels like it did before surgery.  I’m just so frustrated. 

My daughter was ok with me when I got back, I did the whole strip and shower the moment I got in so she knew that I was clean  

Thank you for listening to me. 

LittleGibbon
Posted by

Thanks for letting us know how you got on. 

So glad you got reassuring news (but those symptoms sound horrible).

Also glad your daughter coped OK when you came back. 

Warm wishes to you all.