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Health Information Center

Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

Symptoms may not be apparent with early thyroid cancer. Changes to the thyroid are often only found during exams or tests for other health issues.

In later stages, lumps may appear in the neck. The lumps may or may not cause pain. In some people, the lumps may grow fast. The lumps may press on nearby tissue and cause:

  • Neck pain, which may shoot up to the jaw and ears
  • Neck tightness or swelling
  • Hoarseness or other changes to the voice
  • Lasting cough
  • Problems breathing
  • Swallowing problems


  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/anaplastic-thyroid-cancer.
  • General information about thyroid cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/thyroid/patient/thyroid-treatment-pdq.
  • Follicular thyroid cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/follicular-thyroid-cancer-21.
  • Medullary thyroid cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/medullary-thyroid-cancer.
  • Papillary thyroid cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/papillary-thyroid-cancer.
  • Signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/thyroid-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-symptoms.html.
  • Thyroid cancer (papillary and follicular). American Thyroid Association website. Available at: https://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-cancer.


  • James Cornell, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.