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Thyroid Diseases

Is Hyperthyroidism and Raised Lymph Nodes Always a Sign of Cancer?

09/26/2006

Question:

I have recently been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and I am awaiting consultation with a specialist. I now have a raised lymph node and every web page I access tells me this is a sign on thyroid cancer.

Is this always the case, I do not have any infection that I am aware off, ie temp, sore throat etc. I do not know when I could be allocated an appointment and I am worried.

Answer:

This is a difficult question to answer based solely on the information you have given. I presume that the lymph node you have found is in the neck. Are you sure that it is a lymph node and not part of the thyroid or an enlarged salivary gland you are feeling?

I don't think you are going to be able to diagnose this yourself - you need to have the lymph node felt by a thyroid specialist, who will then be able to tell you what it might mean and what should be done next. You may be worrying about nothing. On the other hand, a new lump in the neck mustn't be ignored either.

One other important point: even if you do have thyroid cancer, you should know that thyroid cancer is not like other cancers - it usually grows very slowly and has an excellent response to treatment.

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Response by:

Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University