Thyroid Cancer Specialist

Pikes Peak ENT -  - Otolaryngology

Pikes Peak ENT

Otolaryngology & Facial Plastic Surgery located in Colorado Springs, CO & Woodland Park, CO

In a given year, doctors diagnose over 56,000 new cases of thyroid cancer in the United States. Because thyroid cancer can lead to a variety of complex issues, including hormone imbalances and problems swallowing, board-certified specialists Michael Wilhelm, MD, and Luke Arnholt, MD, at Pikes Peak ENT provide comprehensive diagnostic and treatment care. You can book an evaluation at one of the two locations in Colorado Springs, or the other office in Woodland Park, Colorado, by clicking on the online booking tool. You can also call any location to schedule an appointment.

Thyroid Cancer Q & A

What causes thyroid cancer? 

Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. It’s responsible for producing hormones that regulate your heart rate, metabolism, body temperature, and more. 

But when mutations develop in your thyroid cells, you can develop thyroid cancer. While the exact cause of thyroid cancer isn’t well understood, medical experts find that several factors can increase your risk, including:

  • Diets low in iodine 
  • Poorly controlled diabetes
  • Chemical or radiation exposure 
  • Family history of thyroid cancer
  • Being female (women are three times more likely to develop it)

Not all thyroid growths are cancerous though. You can develop solid or fluid-filled lumps — called thyroid nodules — on your thyroid. Most of these nodules are harmless and don’t cause problems. In rare occasions though, nodules grow rapidly and turn into cancer.  

How will I know if I have thyroid cancer?

Thyroid cancer doesn’t always cause obvious symptoms. When your doctor at Pikes Peak ENT examines you, they may feel a lump in the lower front part of your neck. They also talk with you about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing, which may include:

  • Neck or throat pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Persistent cough
  • Swollen neck glands
  • Hoarseness 

In most cases, your thyroid continues to function normally, meaning you won’t experience symptoms of hyper- or hypothyroidism. After your evaluation, the next step is usually an ultrasound to determine if you have one or more nodules and whether or not they’re fluid-filled.

Next, your dedicated physician may recommend an in-office ultrasound-guided, fine-needle aspiration biopsy to gather sample cells from the nodule. Pikes Peak ENT is the only practice in the Colorado Springs area that provides this minimally invasive procedure. 

Your doctor may also run some labs. Generally, once these evaluations are complete, your doctor can diagnose or rule out thyroid cancer. 

What is the treatment for thyroid cancer?

In most cases, surgery is necessary to remove cancerous tumors (benign thyroid nodules usually don’t need to be removed). For a small or localized growth, your dedicated physician at Pikes Peak ENT may recommend a lobectomy to remove the affected lobe of your thyroid.

For more complex cases of thyroid cancer though, you might need a total thyroidectomy to remove your entire thyroid and any affected lymph nodes. If thyroid removal is necessary, you’re going to need to take daily thyroid hormone replacement medications.

In some cases, radioactive iodine or radiation is necessary to effectively treat thyroid cancer. But the compassionate team at Pikes Peak ENT cares for you every step of the way and educates you about what to expect during your recovery.

If you have thyroid nodules or are at risk of thyroid cancer, contact Pikes Peak ENT for an evaluation. Click on the online scheduler or call the location nearest you to book a visit.