The elderly patient presenting with a neck lump often raises concerns regarding a malignancy. Thyroid gland malignancies are well recognised and subtype characteristics thoroughly researched, whereas rarer types of thyroid carcinoma are reported infrequently and often behave more aggressively. An 83-year-old woman was referred from the general practitioner (GP) to otolaryngology due to a 7-month history of an unexplained enlarging left-sided neck swelling. A fine-needle aspiration revealed cytology consistent with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Staging imaging failed to reveal evidence of a primary foci elsewhere. The definitive diagnosis was that of a primary thyroid SCC: a rare entity with limited citations in the literature. Surgical resection has been found to comprise the optimal treatment for this disease. Recognition of the possibility of primary thyroid SCC in elderly patients presenting with a neck lump, with prompt referral to a head and neck specialist permits a timely progression to potentially curative surgical management, a more promising prognosis and reduced mortality rates.
- head and neck surgery
- otolaryngology / ENT
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