Thyroid Cancer Stories from Patients and Survivors | The Patient Story

Thyroid Cancer Stories from Patients and Survivors

Explore in-depth stories from thyroid cancer patients and survivors, who share everything from how they got diagnosed, thyroidectomy, and navigating life with cancer.

The staging for thyroid cancer patients younger than 55 and those 55 and older are different, so that’s how we’ve separated their stories.


Thyroid Cancer General Info

Types

Thyroid cancer can be of four main types, which vary in their aggressiveness. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is hard to cure with current treatments, whereas papillary (the most common), follicular, and medullary thyroid cancer can usually be cured.  (National Cancer Institute)

First Signs and Symptoms

These can vary, and you should always check with your medical professional on what are best steps to take. As our community members say, don’t forget to advocate for yourself – you know your body best. These are the top first symptoms they experienced before their thyroid cancer diagnosis:

  • Lump in neck
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarse voice, painful when talking
lump in neck

“I noticed a lump on my neck. It was over the right side of my clavicle. I really didn’t think too much about it. I have a history of cysts. I told my acupuncture doctor about it. I remember him saying not to worry too much because it was probably just a cyst. It was not painful, and it was moving easily.

He did say that if it doesn’t go away to get it checked. Well, a few months went by and I went to see him again. The lump was still there. He agreed that it would be best to get it checked out by my PCP.”

Read story: Nancy Elhaj, Metastatic Papillary Thyroid Cancer

fatigue

“I actually didn’t know that anything was wrong. I know that kind of sounds like a typical guy, but I really didn’t. The symptoms that I was experiencing were symptoms that perfectly mimicked themselves with eating bad.

And at the time, my son was going through that new baby phase. We just chalked up the fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, and the lack of concentration to being exhausted and tired from being up at night, because we’d both do that.”

Read story: Greg Stable, Metastatic Papillary Thyroid Cancer

difficulty swallowing

“I occasionally had a hard time swallowing things for about eight months. Just certain things here and there would be difficult to swallow.

I actually didn’t know anything was wrong. I was having coffee at the table with my mom and my aunt, just waiting for my cousin to call. I was just about to ask her to be my maid of honor and my mom noticed a lump on my neck. I called the doctor immediately.”

Read story: Jamie Kay, Papillary Thyroid Cancer

Hoarse voice

“About six months before I found out I had cancer, one of my main symptoms was my voice was extremely hoarse. Not the kind of hoarse when you wake up, feel a little groggy, and have to clear your throat. I would speak and my voice would go in and out. It would actually sometimes really hurt to talk.

Another really alarming symptom I had was I had a lymph node on one side of my neck that was protruding out of my skin. I would constantly shake it off because a few times when I was younger I had mono.”

Read story: Jenna Cordaro, Metastatic Papillary Thyroid Cancer


Thyroid Cancer Stories, Under 55

Carmen’s Thyroid Cancer Story: Papillary, Stage 1 | The Patient Story

Carmen Yee, Papillary Thyroid Cancer



Cancer details: Most common kind of thyroid cancer
1st Symptoms: Swollen neck
Treatment: Thyroidectomy (entire removal of thyroid), radioactive iodine treatment
...
Jamie’s Thyroid Cancer Story: Papillary, Stage 1 | The Patient Story

Jamie Kay, Papillary Thyroid Cancer



Cancer details: Most common kind of thyroid cancer
1st Symptoms: Difficulty swallowing, lump on neck
Treatment: Thyroidectomy (entire removal of thyroid), radioactive iodine treatment
...
Sarah’s Thyroid Cancer Story: Papillary, Stage 1 | The Patient Story

Sarah Johnson, Papillary Thyroid Cancer, Stage 1



Cancer details: Spread to lymph nodes
1st Symptoms: Enlarged thyroid
Treatment: Thyroidectomy (entire removal of thyroid), partial neck dissection, radioactive iodine treatment
...
Nancy’s Thyroid Cancer Story: Papillary, Stage 2, Metastatic | The Patient Story

Nancy Elhaj, Metastatic Papillary Thyroid Cancer, Stage 2



Cancer details: Spread to lymph nodes
1st Symptoms: Lump in neck
Treatment: Thyroidectomy (entire removal of thyroid), radioactive iodine treatment 
...
Greg’s Thyroid Cancer Story: Papillary, Stage 2, Metastatic | The Patient Story

Greg Sable, Metastatic Papillary Thyroid Cancer, Stage 2



Cancer details: Spread to lymph nodes
1st Symptoms: Fatigue, lump in neck near Adam’s apple
Treatment: Thyroidectomy (entire removal of thyroid), radioactive iodine treatment
...
Jenna’s Thyroid Cancer Story: Papillary, Stage 2, Metastatic| The Patient Story

Jenna Cordaro, Metastatic Papillary Thyroid Cancer, Stage 2



Cancer details: Spread to lymph nodes
1st Symptoms: Hoarse voice, painful talking, lump in neck
Treatment: Thyroidectomy (entire removal of thyroid), radioactive iodine treatment
...

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