Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology
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Thyroid Cancer

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 7/2013
Symptoms and Signs

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages in this guide, use the colored boxes on the right side of your screen, or click “Next” at the bottom.

People with thyroid cancer often experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with thyroid cancer do not show any of these symptoms. Or, these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer. If you are concerned about a symptom or sign on this list, please talk with your doctor.

  • A lump in the front of the neck, near the Adam's apple
  • Hoarseness
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain in the throat or neck
  • A cough that persists and is not caused by a cold

Talk with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. Your doctor will ask you questions about the symptoms you are experiencing to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis. These symptoms may be caused by thyroid cancer; other thyroid problems, such as a goiter; or a condition not related to the thyroid, such as an infection. Questions may include how long you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s) and how often.

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms and side effects remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

Choose “Next” (below, right) to continue reading this guide to learn about what tests and scans you may have to learn more about the cause of your symptoms. Or, use the colored boxes located on the right side of your screen to visit any section.

© 2005-2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.

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