An estimated 59 million people in America suffer from some form of thyroid problem, although most of them do not know it yet. The thyroid, a gland located in the neck, is associated primarily with the metabolism. If this gland cannot function properly, every aspect of your health can be affected, from weight and energy levels, to even your mood. Undiagnosed thyroid issues can lead to an increased chance of heart disease, depression, obesity, anxiety, sexual dysfunction and other symptoms. You don't need to have every symptom to have thyroid cancer, but here are 6 common early warning signs that could spell out thyroid cancer.

1.) Unexpected Weight Loss Or Weight Gain

If your weight suddenly changes without explanation, this could be a sign that you have a thyroid disorder. Significant weight gain could point towards a low level of hormones in your thyroid, known as hypothyroidism. On the other hand, if you're producing more hormones than you need, you could lose weight suddenly, through hyperthyroidism.

2.) Exhaustion

Lack of energy and feeling tired are common symptoms associated with many conditions, but they also have a strong link to hypothyroidism. If you feel tired after a full night's sleep, it may be a sign that you have an underactive thyroid. When you don't have enough hormone in your system, your muscles don't get enough of the signal that tells them to get moving and stay energetic.

3.) Heart Rate Changes

The thyroid hormones have an impact on just about every organ in the body, and can have a significant impact on how quickly your heart pumps blood. If you suffer with hypothyroidism, you might begin to notice that your heart rate is somewhat slower than normal. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism could cause the heart rate to increase. The same issue can also lead to increased blood pressure levels and the sensation of various types of heart palpitations, such as pounding.

4.) Temperature Issues

Thyroid disorders can have an impact on the way your body regulates its own temperature. People who suffer with hypothyroidism may find that they feel cold more often, whereas those with hyperthyroidism might experience excessive sweating and overheating.

5.) Difficulty In Concentrating

There are many reasons why your brain might start to feel a little fuzzy, including aging and sleep deprivation. However, your cognitive functioning can also be affected by a thyroid that is out of whack. Hyperthyroidism can cause people to struggle with concentration, and hypothyroidism may lead to a poor memory and foggy brain. People generally feel much sharper once they have received treatment if they have a thyroid problem. Most women who believe they are suffering as a result of menopause are really experiencing a thyroid issue.

6.) Dry Skin

Itchy, dry and cracking skin can be a distinct sign of hypothyroidism. When your skin changes in appearance or texture, it can be a result of a slowed metabolism that is caused by too little hormone production from your thyroid. The result of a slowed metabolism can mean reduced sweating, and skin without moisture quickly becomes flaky and dry.