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Thyroid cancer

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

How to determine if any type of thyroid cancer's symptoms has returned?

deafgrrrl
Posted by

I know there are so many types of thyroid cancer, and what I have is a Papillary Carcinoma Of Thyroid type of cancer, along with Malignant Neoplasm Of Thyroid Gland, which I was told, has since then been cancer-free since having the surgery in September of 2018.

However, it's been almost 2 years now, and it's led me to some possible concerns in the last several months, and I'm experiencing some symptoms. I've checked and double checked to make sure that it's not COVID-19 related, and so far, it's not. The symptoms I am experiencing, however, involves very deep bouts of depression, occasional coughing (mostly just light, but not serious right now, and it's also to do with all this dust and dirt in my apartment, even though I've cleaned it multiple times, and am wondering if it's just allergies from said dirt and dust causing these symptoms and not my cancer) and what feels like a "burning" sensation in my throat and lungs, and uncontrollable eating/weight gain and occasional migraines.

I wanted to know if there's any chance that this type of cancer I originally had could have come back and returned but this time, possibly spreading to other parts of my body, such as the lungs or worse?

If so, can you all share your experiences if you have had any, about how to determine if any possible symptoms has shown up in your experiences, because I'm getting worried that my cancer might have returned. Any thoughts, suggestions, list of symptoms, etc. would be helpful. Thanks.

Lass
Posted by

Hey there deafgrrrl,

I'm going to say welcome to the forum, because I don't recognise your username, but I'm sorry you have the need to be here!

The good news is, it sounds like you're letting your imagination run away with you a little bit, in wondering if it's spreading, but that's perfectly understandable - and common - after a cancer diagnosis. We've def all done it at least once!

When did you have your last set of bloods done? 2 years on, you should be on at least yearly bloods - if you had a TT of course, you don't mention if it was a whole or partial thyroidectomy that you had. If it was longer than 8 weeks ago, I'd ask your GP for a TFT, thyroid function test, to test your T4 and TSH, and if you had a full thyroidectomy, your TG too. The reason I suggest this is that the depression, weight issues, and migraines could be caused by you being on the wrong dose of thyroxine. Or if you've only had a hemi, it might be that your remaining half isn't taking up the slack properly.

Now, the other thing is that with your coughing and burning sensation in your throat and lungs, I'd ask your doctor about silent acid reflux. No idea why, but it seems to be quite common among people who have had thyroidectomies. What happens is that while you're asleep, the acid comes up from your stomach and burns your throat. If it's bad, it can trickle into your lungs, or come all the way up into your nose. But in the low stages, it can cause a burning feeling and a tickly, persistant cough. You could test it out for yourself if you don't want to ask the doctor about it by taking some tums or rennies before bed, and sleeping in a more upright position. See if it helps the feelings at all. Mine was sorted with a tablet from the doctor, but mine was properly bad where I was waking up suffocating on acid, then unable to catch my breath because everything in my throat was burnt and sore!

So definitely give your GP a call, ask about the two things I've mentioned, tell them your symptoms, and see what they say. But at this point, I wouldn't be worrying about a recurrence.

Hope that helps, and do 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.

deafgrrrl
Posted by

Well, I was not prescribed that medication after my partial thyroidectomy, because the surgeon/doctor who did this thought I didn't need a prescription since I was supposedly "producing enough" thyroid to be able to do so without it.

However, they never ordered a set of blood labs for me on a yearly basis either, so where I had it done was here in America. Their healthcare system is truly broken. I was living in America at the time for educational/university purposes, and was diagnosed with this cancer two years ago. So what you're saying sounds like my team of doctors at the University of Vermont Medical Center dropped the bloody ball and didn't keep up with my care at all.

Well, that's just great.

Lass
Posted by

Heya,

Ah ha! We're a UK based site, so all of our advice and experience is usually based on what happens here in the UK. So it might not always match up with how things are done in the US. They're a bit of a law unto themselves sometimes! lol

Most people aren't prescribed thyroxine after a hemi, because they usually expect that the remaining half will pick up the slack. So here, they should check your levels at least 8 weeks after your operation to see how your remaining half is doing, and if it is doing ok then great. However, they should then also tell you that if you start to feel off with the symptoms of hypothyroidism, to go to the GP and get a TFT to see if that half is still doing what it should.

Lots of people are absolutely fine on no meds and with their remaining half, however others find that the remaining half either slows down or packs in over time, or just doesn't pick up the slack from the start. Which is why you should be warned what to look for so you can get it sorted quickly.

So def get yourself to a doctor and ask for some bloods to be done, see how your levels are. Then if they are off and your remaining half isn't doing as it should, they can start you on thyroxine. If they do start you on thyroxine, make sure that 8 weeks after you start taking them you go back for another blood test to make sure you're on the right dose! Also, you'll see in other threads I've mentioned how to take thyroxine - as it's a bit of a finicky drug. So again, if you need it, please have a read and make sure you take it right, otherwise it can cause all sorts of problems.

Lass

xx

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