Don’t be confused, this is the difference between goiter and thyroid cancer

Don't be confused, this is the difference between goiter and thyroid cancer — Don’t be confused, this is the difference between goiter and thyroid cancer. Goiter and thyroid cancer can both cause lumps in the neck. However, there are various differences between the two that you should know so as not to panic. For more details, see the following discussion.

Difference between goiter and thyroid cancer

Goiter and thyroid cancer are two types of diseases that attack the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland located at the front of the neck just below the Adam’s apple.

The thyroid has an important role in the daily functioning of the body. This organ is responsible for releasing and controlling thyroid hormones which control metabolism or the process of changing nutrients from food into energy.

When the thyroid is attacked by a goiter or cancer, the production of thyroid hormones is disrupted. The thyroid can produce too much or too little hormone.

As a result, you tire more easily, your heart beats faster, and you gain or lose weight suddenly without effort.

So, what is the difference between goiter and thyroid cancer?

1. Differences in causes

One of the differences between a goiter and thyroid cancer lies in the cause. In goiter, the most common cause is a lack of iodine intake in the diet.

Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones. When the body lacks iodine, decreased hormone production causes the gland to send signals to the thyroid to produce more hormones. It is this signal that causes thyroid growth.

In addition, goiter can also occur due to hormonal changes during pregnancy or an infection that causes inflammation.

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Meanwhile, the cause of thyroid cancer is thyroid cells that undergo mutations. Mutations make cells grow and divide uncontrollably. This accumulation of abnormal cells can form tumors and spread to other parts of the body.

2. Differences in disease progression

A goiter often begins as a small lump that can only be detected through routine examinations or imaging tests.

The growth of a goiter occurs very slowly, it can take months or even years before it begins to appear enlarged in the neck.

The difference with goiter, the growth of a lump on the neck that is a feature of thyroid cancer can occur very quickly and the symptoms can be felt to other organs of the body.

3. Differences in symptoms

When it is enlarged, lumps goiter is usually easy to find. These lumps often appear on the very front of the neck and can move up and down every time the sufferer swallows something.

This disease can cause discomfort such as food stuck in the throat, especially when lying down or sleeping on your back.

Other symptoms may include hoarseness and dizziness when the arm is raised above the head. Goiter can also cause symptoms of shortness of breath, but these symptoms occur less frequently in patients.

In thyroid cancer, patients often do not feel symptoms if the disease is still at an early stage. However, after the disease progresses, a lump will appear on the skin of the neck.

Swelling may also occur in the lymph nodes. Then, the symptoms are followed by changes in the patient’s voice, pain in the neck and throat, and a cough that does not go away for more than three weeks.

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4. The difference between treatment and healing

If it’s small, the goiter can get better and even go away on its own without treatment. However, this again depends on the size of the goiter, symptoms, and the underlying condition causing it.

Treatment options may include giving thyroid medication to control hormone production, pain relief, radioactive iodine therapy to treat hyperthyroidism, and surgery if the goiter has complications such as difficulty breathing.

On the other hand, thyroid cancer can actually be cured if it has not spread and detected at an early stage. Even very small thyroid cancers with a low risk of spreading may not require immediate treatment.

Instead, the doctor will monitor your condition with blood tests and neck ultrasound examinations once or twice per year.

If the disease cannot be cured, then the goal of treatment is to remove the thyroid or thyroid cancer therapy to prevent the growth, spread, and recurrence of cancer in the long term.

In serious cases, treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms such as pain or difficulty breathing and swallowing.

Be careful, goiter can develop into thyroid cancer

Indeed, most cases of goiter do not develop into thyroid cancer. It is estimated that only about 2-3 out of 20 cases are cancerous.

However, a swollen thyroid with a diameter of more than 1 to 1.5 cm should be further examined to confirm the presence or absence of thyroid cancer.

Regardless of the risk, you should still get tested if you have any unusual symptoms or changes in the condition of your throat when you swallow.

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By doing an examination, you can find out the cause of the appearance of thyroid disease which of course will be easier to treat if detected early.

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