Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

By  , Expert Content
Dec 09, 2011

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Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer in the early stages, generally, does not cause any symptoms. A small lump or nodule in the neck is the most common symptom. Majority of thyroid nodules, however, are not cancerous. Nodules can be caused by many benign conditions, and only one per cent of these lumps are actually cancerous. As the cancer grows and involves other tissues in the neck, it can cause symptoms that include:

  • Lump or nodule in front of the neck: The lump is situated in the front of the neck,  just below the Adam's apple. In most cases, the nodules grow slowly, but sometimes, the lump or nodule may increase in size rapidly. The lump or nodules on palpation (touching) may give the impression that the entire thyroid is moving (often observed with aggressive cancer).
  • Hoarseness or difficulty in speaking: The voice may change as the cancer invades the nearby tissues and involves the nerve of the larynx (or voice box).
  • Enlarged lymph nodes: Lymph nodes in the neck may enlarge as the cancer spreads to them.
  • Difficulty swallowing or choking feeling: The lump can compress the esophagus (food pipe) and cause difficulty in swallowing. The symptom may also be caused if the nerve to esophagus is invaded as the cancer grows.
  • Difficulty in breathing: The nodule can compress the trachea (wind pipe) and cause difficulty in breathing. The symptom may also be caused if the nerve to trachea is invaded as the cancer grows.
  • Pain in the throat or neck: It is caused due to compression by lump or involvement of nerve and other tissues of the neck. The pain from the neck may radiate to the ears.

These are some symptoms that may be present in a person with thyroid cancer; but they are not sure signs of thyroid cancer. Many other problems such as infection, a benign goiter or another problem can cause similar symptoms. You should consult a doctor if you have any of these symptoms. Your doctor can diagnose the cause of your symptoms and treat the problem.



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