The symptoms of anaplastic thyroid cancer do not show up until the disease is in its later stages. Once the tumor begins to grow, it grows quickly and becomes painful. Besides the tumor, which can easily be felt by pressing on the skin of the neck, other symptoms include cough or coughing up blood, trouble swallowing, swollen lymph glands in the neck, pain along the neck and throat, noisy breathing, and a husky-sounding voice.
A Answers (2)
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI) answered
James Lee, MD, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, answered on behalf of Columbia University Department of Surgery
Unlike most thyroid cancers which do not cause symptoms, anaplastic cancers tend to grow very quickly (sometimes over a few weeks) and cause compressive symptoms which include difficulty swallowing, food or pills getting "stuck" when they swallow, and pressure or shortness of breath when lying flat. Patients typically notice a rock-hard mass they can feel or a visible mass (i.e. a mass they can see). In cases of advanced cancer that are growing (i.e. invading) into surrounding structures, patients may develop hoarseness or difficulty swallowing. Patients with compressive symptoms, enlarged lymph nodes, hoarseness, and/or a rapidly growing mass in the neck, especially if they have a known thyroid goiter, should seek medical evaluation right away.