Taking a hands-on approach to your thyroid health by doing an at-home “neck check” does have its benefits. A regular self-exam can help you find lumps or enlargements on your thyroid gland, which could indicate the presence of everything from nodules to cancer.
The Six-Step Thyroid Neck Check
Step One: Stand in Front of a Mirror—You’ll want an unobstructed view of your neck, so make sure to remove any scarves or jewelry.
Step Two: Extend Your Neck—Move your chin up toward the ceiling so you can see the entire length of your neck.
Step Three: Take a Sip of Water and Swallow—This should move your larynx forward, giving you a better view of your thyroid. The thyroid is located right above your collarbone and below your voice box.
Step Four: Look for Irregularities While Swallowing—Keep an eye out for any enlargements, protrusions, lumps or anything off-center. Repeat the process by swallowing more water while looking at your neck.
Step Five: Feel for Lumps and Bumps—Use your fingers to explore the area around your thyroid gland to feel for any protrusions. To locate your thyroid, slide a finger down your neck’s midline. The first hard structure you’ll feel is the top of the thyroid cartilage leading to the Adam’s apple. Keep moving your finger down, and you’ll hit the cricoid cartilage. Two fingers–width below that is the thyroid isthmus. You’ll find the lobes of the thyroid gland on either side of it.
Step Six: Talk to Your Doctor—If you find anything unusual, schedule an appointment.
A neck check is not the best way to identify thyroid disease, as you can have a normal neck check and still have serious thyroid disease. In addition, many types of thyroid cancer do not result in masses you can feel.
Getting the complete picture of your thyroid health requires a medical professional. For full expert analysis, including imaging, blood tests and CT scans, request an appointment today!