Damage & Side Effects of Surgery for Thyroid Cancer
And several things raise the risk of developing thyroid cancer, including: family history of goiter, certain hereditary syndromes, as well as exposure to high levels of radiation.
Many patients do not experience symptoms associated with thyroid cancer, especially in the early stages. However, as the cancer progresses, symptoms may include:
*A lump or nodule in the front of the neck
* Difficulty speaking
* Swollen lymph nodes
* Difficulty breathing
* Throat pain
* A constant cough
* Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
* Pain in the front of the neck that sometimes extends up to the ears
Types of Thyroid Cancer:
Papillary is the most common type of thyroid cancer in the United States. In fact, over 80% of people diagnosed with thyroid cancer will have this type. It begins in follicular cells and usually grows slowly.
Follicular is the second most common type. Just a little more than 9% of people diagnosed with thyroid cancer will have this type. It also begins in the follicular cells and usually grows slowly.
Medullary only makes up about 2 of every 100 people diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Medullary thyroid cancer begins in C cells and can make very high levels of calcitonin.
Anaplastic thyroid cancer is the least common type and only accounts for about 1-2% of thyroid cancers. Most people diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer are older than 60. This type of thyroid cancer begins in follicular cells of the thyroid similar to papillary and follicular thyroid cancers. Anaplastic cancer cells tend to grow and spread very quickly making it difficult to control.
Types of Surgery for Thyroid Cancer:
1) Lobectomy: This operation is used for papillary or follicular thyroid cancers. For this type of surgery, the cancer needs to show no signs of spreading.
First, the surgeon makes a small incision across the front of the neck. Then, after exposing the thyroid, the lobe containing the cancer is removed. The isthmus is usually removed as well.
Because a lobectomy leaves part of the gland behind, some patients may not need to take thyroid hormone pills afterward.
2) Thyroidectomy: Similar to a lobectomy, the surgeon makes an incision a few inches long across the front of the neck. But, instead of removing only a lobe, a total thyroidectomy removes the entire thyroid gland.
However, in some cases the surgeon may not be able to remove the entire thyroid. If this happens, the surgery is called a near-total thyroidectomy or subtotal thyroidectomy depending on how much of the thyroid is removed.
If you have a thyroidectomy, you will need to take daily thyroid hormone pills.
3) Lymph node removal: If the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes in the neck, these will be removed at the same time surgery is done on the thyroid.
“For papillary or follicular cancer where only 1 or 2 enlarged lymph nodes are thought to contain cancer, the enlarged nodes may be removed and any small deposits of cancer cells that may be left are then treated with radioactive iodine.
More often, several lymph nodes near the thyroid are removed in an operation called a central compartment neck dissection. Removal of even more lymph nodes, including those on the side of the neck, is called a modified radical neck dissection.” 
Damage and Side Effects of Surgery for Thyroid Cancer:
In nearly every case of thyroid cancer, surgery is the main treatment. But many men and women agree to surgery without knowing all the risks.
Largely, this is due to the fact that many patients may feel intimidated by their doctor which causes them to feel pressured into certain treatments without fully knowing how those treatments may affect them now and in the future.
Because of this, it’s so important to ask your doctor questions and do your own research. (Also, if you have been told that chemotherapy should be included in your cancer treatment, please ask your doctor these 25 important questions!)
Although thyroid surgery is generally a pretty safe surgery, there are still risks and side effects. So please discuss this list of possible damage and side effects of surgery for thyroid cancer, before agreeing to it.
General risks and side effects of surgery:
* Pain (The amount of pain largely depends on factors like: how large the incision is, how much tissue is removed, your general health, if you have pain before surgery, etc.)
* Appetite loss
* Drainage and bruising around the incision area
Possible damage and side effects specifically for thyroid cancer surgery:
* Temporary or permanent hoarseness
* Temporary or permanent loss of voice
* Low blood calcium levels which causes muscle spasms, numbness, and tingling (due to damage to the parathyroid glands)
* Excessive bleeding or formation of a major blood clot in the neck
* Lymphedema (According to Cancer.net: “Lymphedema is the abnormal buildup of fluid in soft tissue due to a blockage in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system helps fight infection and other diseases by carrying lymph, a colorless fluid containing white blood cells, throughout the body. It does so using a network of thin tubes called vessels. Small glands called lymph nodes filter bacteria and other harmful substances out of this fluid.”  “Sometimes, when the lymph nodes are removed, lymphatic fluid collects in the surrounding tissues and cannot drain back out. This causes the swelling known as lymphedema. Lymphedema causes discomfort and tightness in the swollen area. So it can also limit the movement and function of that area, such as an arm or leg. You may need specific therapy to manage this side effect.” )
* Muscles and nerve damage which may cause one shoulder to be lower than the other.
* Asphyxiation, if there is an incidence of an unrecognized or rapidly expanding hematoma.  (But thankfully this is very rare.)
And, please keep in mind that I’m not telling you to decline surgery. The only purpose of this article and the information in it, is to educate you so you can make decisions that you feel are most beneficial to your health.
Also, if you’ve considered getting rid of your cancer without conventional treatments (chemo, radiation, and surgery), you can see and read about more than 100 people who cured their cancer naturally, including 4 who had thyroid cancer by clicking here.
Sources & References:
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/thyroid-cancer/treating/surgery.html  http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/side-effects/lymphedema  http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/how-cancer-treated/surgery/side-effects-surgery  http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/852184-overview  http://www.webmd.com/women/thyroid-surgery