What are the symptoms of thyroid cancer?

Possible signs of thyroid cancer include a swelling or lump in the neck. Thyroid cancer may not cause early symptoms. It is sometimes found during a routine physical exam. Symptoms may occur as the tumor gets bigger. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:

  • A lump in the neck.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Trouble Swallowing.
  • Hoarseness.

This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

Most patients with thyroid cancer do not have any symptoms. Typically, patients present with a thyroid nodule that is found to be cancer on further evaluation. As with all thyroid disease, a thorough history is important, such as a family history of thyroid cancer, personal history of radiation exposure, or enlarged lymph nodes. Your physician will review with you any symptoms such as pain, swelling in the neck, difficulty with swallowing, shortness of breath, difficulty with breathing or changes in your voice. If the nodule is large, it may cause symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, choking sensations, or a large mass in the neck. Rarely, the cancer can grow into the nerves (i.e., the recurrent laryngeal nerves) that control the voicebox and cause hoarseness.

Dr. Eric M. Genden, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT Specialist)

There are usually no symptoms of thyroid cancer. In this video, Eric Genden, MD, chairman of the chairman of the department of otolaryngology at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, explains how the cancer is usually found during a routine exam.

Continue Learning about Thyroid Cancer

Why Are Thyroid Cancer Rates On the Rise?
Why Are Thyroid Cancer Rates On the Rise?
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped organ located in the front of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. And while it doesn’t take up a lot of ...
Read More
What are follicular and Hurthle cell thyroid cancers?
James Lee, MDJames Lee, MD
Follicular and Hurthle cell thyroid cancer makes up about 15 to 20% of all cases of thyroid cancer.T...
More Answers
Is papillary thyroid cancer serious?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Thyroid cancer is serious, although it is treatable. Papillary thyroid cancer usually grows slowly, ...
More Answers
What Is Thyroid Cancer?
What Is Thyroid Cancer?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.