My mother and sister both have thyroid issues (I think hypothyroid), but I never did until I ended up with stage 3 thyroid cancer in 2015. I ended up with surgery to remove the thyroid (thyroidectomy to go along with my colectomy), and 2 lymph nodes into which the cancer metastasized. I then got 157 millicuries of radioactive iodine to kill the remaining cancer cells. I take 175 mg synthroid daily and it’s like I don’t miss the thyroid at all. My TSH and tumor markers are checked by blood tests every 3 months, all my labs have been good.
The thyroidectomy was a breeze as compared to my colectomy. My scar is very small and barely visible now.
My cancer was detected on an annual physical and my PCP’s manual feeling of my throat in which he detected swelling which I couldn’t see with my bare eyes nor feel. For this reason I recommend annual exams and your PCP should always inspect those throat glands. If the lymph nodes are swollen they will know even if you don’t. The PCP sent me to an ENT doctor who felt my thyroid and immediately felt a “firm nodule” which turned out to be cancer. They did an ultrasound on it and a needle biopsy with aspiration in which tissue is sucked out of the thyroid with a vacuum cleaner type instrument.
BTW prior to surgery my ENT surgeon/olotynarologist did put a NG tube down my nose into my throat to inspect my vocal chords and throat. It brought back memories of the post colectomy Ileus and the dreaded abdominal NG tube, but was not as bad, because it’s a thinner tube and has a camera and just goes down nostril and throat and not into stomach. Not a great experience, but tolerable.