Doctors use many tests to find, or diagnose, cancer. If a person has symptoms and signs of head and neck cancer, the doctor will take a complete medical history, noting all symptoms and conduct a head, neck and lymph node check. Sometimes, certain tests will be conducted around the thyroid as well.
The thyroid is located inside the neck under adam’s apple. It is a very important gland in the body, although it is very small. It is responsible for the production of the hormones necessary for the proper functioning of the body. Not all throat problems can lead to thyroid cancer. First, you need to check for thyroid cancer symptoms to see if it’s really cancer.
The steps on how to check for thyroid cancer symptoms can be done in two ways;
- you can either go for a medical check-up or
- you can just examine yourself at home.
There’s no specific time of when you should start doing the test, although the disease appears mostly in young adults and very rare can you find it developing in adolescence or childhood stages. Here’s a procedure that you can follow:
- Stand in front of your mirror where you can see your throat and neck
- Tilt your head back in a position that your neck is easy and clearly visible
- Take a drink of water and swallow it. Look carefully around your neck if you can see any unusual appearance like a lump or any enlargement.
- For an accurate observation, you should repeat the above step severally.
- In case of detecting anything unusual, you should visit a doctor for professional checkups.
2. Medical/professional examinations/tests
This mostly goes to those people with higher risks of developing thyroid cancer. For example, if you have a family history of having overactive thyroid glands or those who have undergone head and neck radiation treatments as well as those who have been exposed to toxic radiations. These categories of persons may have to undergo at least one of the following tests:
- Radioiodine scan
- Chest X-ray
- Computed Tomography scan
- A Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan
- Positron Emission Tomography Scan