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Left thyroid malignant nodule and enlarged lymph nodes

23 Jun 2022 21:11

Hello, the ultrasound detected a malignant-looking nodule which measures approximately 23mm(AP) X 14mm(TR) on the left lobe of my thyroid (right lobe is clear) and several enlarged lymph nodes, mainly on the left side of the neck. They suspect it is thyroid cancer. I am 29 (with no history in my family) and as you can imagine I am in shock and extremely scared, having also mild/severe anxiety. I'm waiting for further test in the next week or 2 to confirm the cancer, it's type and stage.The thyroid lump was noticed by chance and I have no symptoms whatsoever

I am creating this topic first of all because I feel like doing so helps me a little but also to gather information from people that are or were going through the same process.

If you have already been through the process, how did it go? What can I expect from the next tests and treatment?

If you're undergoing the process now, what's your situation?

I hear that thyroid cancer is generally treatable, which made me feel a little better. I hope that will be the case for me as well.

Thanks everyone!



Left thyroid malignant nodule and enlarged lymph nodes

23 Jun 2022 21:46 in response to Lost92

Hey. I had thyroid cancer two and a half years ago.

It is very common to have no symptoms whatsoever. And when they say thyroid cancer is treatable, it means that is virtually unheard of for people, especially those under about 50, to die of it. I went on a mad researching spree when I was diagnosed and honestly, found tstudies that ended with a version of "and we also intended to compare (whatever it was they were studying)'s effect on death rates, but we couldn't find enough people who died of it to make accurate stats!" I'm paraphrasing, but...that definitely gave me confidence.

Also, the treatment is not what you imagine when you hear "cancer". It's very unlikely that you will have to have chemotherapy or radiotherapy or anything like that. Generally, removing the thyroid and possibly some lymph nodes, if it has spread to those, pretty much treats it.

You may also need radioiodine treatment to reduce the risk of reccurrance, but that is basically just swallowing a capsule. It's annoying because you have to get injections beforehand (and you may have to go on a diet for two weeks before it) and then afterwards, you are radioactive, so you have to spend time in isolation to avoid contaminating people, but it doesn't hurt or make you feel sick or anything. It's just a hassle and nothing more.

How it went for me was I was diagnosed in November 2019. I had my surgery to remove my thyroid on the 6th of January, 2020, went back to work about the 6th or 7th of February and that was basically that. I do have to take tablets now to do what my thyroid previously did and I had radioiodine treatment the following May. It should have been over the Easter holidays (I'm a teacher so that would mean I didn't have to miss work), but as you know, the world shut down.

One thing is after the radioiodine treatment, if you get it, they will probably do a full body scan. Waiting for the results of this is a little scary, although the consultant pretty much told me she wasn't expecting to find anything, you always worry you will be the one in a hundred where it's spread or something.

Apart from the inconveniences, it really wasn't much more of a deal than say getting your appendix or gallbladder or something removed. If it's any consolation, there was absolutely no issue about my going back to work during covid.

Left thyroid malignant nodule and enlarged lymph nodes

23 Jun 2022 22:01 in response to MargaretMary

Thank you very much for the comment! As you probably know, in this situation even a message from a "stranger" can make a whole lot of a difference. It actually made me promise myself that I will keep monitoring the website to try and be supportive for other people too.

Hearing the stats that you mention and your overall process made me feel a little better. I'm just a little stressed about the lymph nodes being involved too. I really can't wait for next test and have a full picture of the situation. If I may, how did you find out about the cancer? Did you have enlarged lymph nodes too? How old were you?

Once again, thank you so much, this really means a lot to me

Left thyroid malignant nodule and enlarged lymph nodes

24 Jun 2022 00:26 in response to Lost92

I was 39 and went to the doctor about irregular periods. They pretty much brushed that off but the doctor noticed a cyst on my thyroid that he said should be checked out. No noticeably enlarged lymph nodes but the surgeon took a load out anyway and they found spread to 8, I think. With papillary thyroid cancer, spread to lymph nodes is common and doesn't massively affect prognosis. It is a factor in raising the risk of recurrence, but seems to have little impact on survival, though like I said, some of the studies I read seemed to have difficulty making comparisons as overall deaths were so low.

I mean, nobody wants any form of cancer but I have read that it's about the least worst option where cancer is concerned.

Left thyroid malignant nodule and enlarged lymph nodes

29 Jun 2022 18:23 in response to MargaretMary


I just wanted to update this thread in case someone else in a similar situation sees it in the future. The biopsy confirmed it's papillary thyroid cancer. I'm undergoing surgery tomorrow to remove the thyroid and some lymph nodes from the left side of my neck.

The "good news" is that the doctor is very optimistic (given the cancer type, the age and the test results) and says that this type of cancer is very treatable and after the surgery and iodine treatment I can go on with my life. He also does not expect any long-term effects on my health nor sees this event affecting my lifespan. It seems that it is pretty much unheard of young patients dying of this type of cancer.

Hopefully everything will go well tomorrow and I will be able to go back to my life in about a month

Left thyroid malignant nodule and enlarged lymph nodes

29 Jun 2022 19:14 in response to Lost92

Best of luck with your operation. I was in the same situation in January 2020 and yup, was back at work and back to normal after about a month. 

Left thyroid malignant nodule and enlarged lymph nodes

6 Jul 2022 15:45 in response to Lost92

 I just wanted to wish you well with your op. Please keep us posted. 

Left thyroid malignant nodule and enlarged lymph nodes

6 Jul 2022 15:59 in response to CazStu

Hello and thanks for the good wishes! I had my surgery done 6 days ago. Everything went well, the only complication is that a nerve got likely damaged (unavoidable due the position of the tumor) and it might affect my voice level in the future; they say it's something that can be solved if needs be anyway.

Other than everything is going quite well, the surgery was quite long but the surgeon and his team were happy with the result. I was discharged from the hospital 2 days ago.

Tomorrow I have a scheduled appointment with the doctor. For now the plan is to have a PET scan and iodine treatment administered within 4 weeks. After that I will have regular checkups. Hopefully nothing else will be needed.

Recovery is going well, better than I expected. My voice is hoarse though, and I sound like I caught a cold or have a bad sore throat.

Thank you all for the comments and the good wishes!

If you had the same kind of surgery, how was your voice afterwards? When did it start going back to normal?

Left thyroid malignant nodule and enlarged lymph nodes

6 Jul 2022 16:06 in response to Lost92

Hmm, it's hard to say exactly when it started going back to normal. I know when I returned to work a month later, it still started getting weak if I were talking too long - I think I worried one of my colleagues my first day back! - and I wasn't able to yell across the yard while on yard duty. The world shut down about five weeks later and then I didn't need to make myself heard so much so...not sure when it returned to normal. I'd say maybe 3 months before it was fully back to normal.

Left thyroid malignant nodule and enlarged lymph nodes

25 Jul 2022 15:15 in response to MargaretMary

It's now been over 3 weeks since the surgery and I'm doing overall better. My voice is stronger although one of the vocal cords is not functioning properly since they had to sacrifice a nerve. I have to say that mentally though it's getting pretty challenging. From the analysis of the stuff they removed during the surgery, 20% of the cells showed tall cell features. It was explained to me that it means it was a bit more aggressive than a normal papillary cancer but the outlook remains positive (I spoke to many doctors, here and abroad). I'm now waiting to get the radio iodine, which will likely be at a high dosage because of the tall cells observed. Did any of you have tall cell features or do you know more about how they affect the prognosis when they're observed in (what is still considered) a small percentage? I had a look at the literature and there seems to be a lot of conflicting results. Some report a 10% survival decrease, some say that taking age into account, there is no difference at all in survival rates compared to classic papillary. Would be nice to know if any of you were in the same situation. Thanks!

Left thyroid malignant nodule and enlarged lymph nodes

12 Aug 2022 17:05 in response to Lost92

The tumor slides were reassessed by a histopathologist here in the UK (I had the surgery done abroad) and his opinion is that the tall cells are more around 10% and therefore not significant, it should realistically not be any worse than a classic papillary cancer. I'm going in for a CT and blood tests on Monday in preparation for the radioiodine, medium dosage, on Wednesday 

How did you feel after taking the radio iodine pill? Any severe side effects? Did you feel any different? How's the scan done 2-3 days after the treatment? Did you feel any better mentally after being done with the treatment?

Thank you!

Left thyroid malignant nodule and enlarged lymph nodes

12 Aug 2022 17:12 in response to Lost92

After the radioiodine pill, you feel no different physically at all. At least I didn't. The only side effect I had was a nosebleed about 10 or 11 days later that I firstly put down to my sinus medication, which it is a side effect of, but it was much stronger than most sinus nosebleeds I get, so I googled out of interest and it mentioned that many people have reported nosebleeds 10-11 days later.

To be honest, had I been slipped it in a drink or something and didn't know I'd taken it, I would have noticed absolutely nothing whatsoever.

The scan did make me feel a little like I was captured by a Batvillain and was about to be crushed. I was half-amused and half yikes, this is getting a bit closer than I expected.

I was a bit concerned about the results of the test so was a bit nervous when they came close

Left thyroid malignant nodule and enlarged lymph nodes

12 Aug 2022 20:16 in response to MargaretMary

Hi there 

My daughter had thyroid cancer when she was 15 she is now nearly 32. She has her thyroid removed and 2 rounds of iodine treatment. She honestly said other than abit of nausea the worst bit about it is being stuck in the room being bored! She had no side effects after either hope this brings some reassurance xxx

Left thyroid malignant nodule and enlarged lymph nodes

14 Aug 2022 18:41 in response to Moomoofunk


thank you very much, hearing about people that went through it and are now doing well always helps a lot! I'm sure boredom won't be a problem for me, covid lockdowns taught me how to cope with isolation Laugh

Also, 10 days after the treatment all my family is coming here to visit me and my girlfriend finally got her visa approved and is moving back to the UK, so I have a number of things to look forward to at the end of the isolation period

Left thyroid malignant nodule and enlarged lymph nodes

15 Aug 2022 17:42 in response to Lost92

Just updating this post with recent results.

Today I had my CT done, a groin ultrasound (there was a tiny palpable lymph node), blood tests and the first thyrogen injection. I think the thyrogen made me feel slightly nauseous for about one hour but it could also have been the stress (I'm needle phobic and have general anxiety).

Other than that both the CT and the ultrasound showed no evicence of spread, which is good news! Going back tomorrow for the 2nd thyrogen injection and then on Wednesday for the radio iodine and more blood tests