What are symptoms of primary thyroid lymphoma?

Unlike most thyroid cancers, which do not cause symptoms, thyroid lymphomas 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 firm mass they can feel or a visible mass (i.e. a mass they can see). In some cases, patients may develop hoarseness or difficulty swallowing. Patients with compressive symptoms, enlarged lymph nodes, hoarseness and/or a rapidly growing mass in the neck, should seek medical evaluation right away.

As with other forms of lymphoma, patients may develop "B-symptoms" which include weight loss, fevers, night sweats and total body itchiness.

American Association of Endocrine Surgeons
Administration Specialist

Patients with primary thyroid lymphoma (PTL) typically present with a rapidly growing thyroid mass and may experience hoarseness, difficulty breathing or, less commonly, significant swallowing problems. The growth of the thyroid tends to be much faster in patients with PTL than in those with other thyroid malignancies, with the exception of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma. Patients may also present with B symptoms, which are commonly associated with lymphoma. These B symptoms include fevers, night sweats, weight loss and/or generalized itching. 

Symptoms of primary thyroid lymphoma include a rapidly enlarging nodule or mass in the thyroid. Primary thyroid lymphoma can cause pressure symptoms (difficulty swallowing, pain) or changes in voice.  Thyroid lymphoma is a rare form of cancer. Like other types of lymphoma, it is treated with chemotherapy (not surgery).

Continue Learning about Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid Cancer

When cancer invades the thyroid gland, it interferes with our body's ability to make hormones that control our heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight.Although there are 4 types of thyroid cancer, the most common i...

s papillary (PA-pih-LAYR-ee) thyroid cancer. A slow forming disease, papillary thyroid cancer typically strikes between the ages of 30 and 50, and affects women more than men. You are at greater risk of developing this disease if you have a personal or family history of goiters, have been exposed to high levels of radiation in the past, or certain genetic endocrine diseases. See your doctor if you notice a lump in your neck, feel hoarse or have trouble breathing or swallowing. This may be a sign cancer has affected your thyroid, which is located at the base of the throat near your windpipe. Early detection and treatment make this one of the least deadly cancers in the U.S.

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.