September is thyroid cancer awareness month. Northeastern Oklahoma Cancer Institute at Claremore wants to take this time to make sure you are fully informed about symptoms and warning signs to look out for!

About the Thyroid

The thyroid is a quarter-sized, butterfly-shaped gland that wraps around your trachea. It produces hormones that control your body’s temperature, heart rate, and metabolism. Thyroid hormones also regulate how much calcium is present in your blood.

The Warning Signs

In its early stages, thyroid cancer may not show signs or symptoms. In many cases, thyroid cancer is discovered during a routine neck examination or during an imaging scan performed to diagnose another condition. Normally, you can’t feel your thyroid simply by touch. But when cancer is present, a lump may form as the tumor increases in size.

Thyroid cancer is more common if you’re:

  • Between the ages of 25 and 65
  • Exposed to radiation in the head or neck area
  • A woman (women are three times more likely than men to be diagnosed with this type of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society)


Most often, thyroid cancer causes a lump and/or swelling of the neck, but it may also cause difficulty breathing or swallowing, as well as vocal hoarseness. Other symptoms include neck pain that may radiate up to your ears or a persistent cough not caused by illness. If you’re experiencing any symptoms, it’s important to reach out to your doctor for a diagnosis.

The most common early sign of thyroid cancer is an unusual lump, nodule or swelling in the neck. If you notice a new or growing lump, you should see your doctor, who can run additional tests to identify the cause and determine if it is a tumor. Most nodules on the thyroid are usually benign, but it is important to have any unusual growths examined by a health care professional.

Northeastern Oklahoma Cancer Institute at Claremore is here for you; call our office today if you have any questions or concerns 918.283.4078.