ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. Use the menu to see other pages.
It is common for people with thyroid cancer to have few or no symptoms or signs. Symptoms are changes that you can feel in your body. Signs are changes in something measured, like by taking your blood pressure or doing a lab test. Together, symptoms and signs can help describe a medical problem.
Thyroid cancers are often diagnosed by routine examination of the neck during a general physical exam. They are also unintentionally found by x-rays or other imaging scans that were performed for other reasons. People with thyroid cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with thyroid cancer do not have any of symptoms and signs described below. Or, the cause of a symptom or sign may be a medical condition that is not cancer.
A lump in the front of the neck, near the Adam's apple
Swollen glands in the neck
Pain in the throat or neck
A cough that persists and is not caused by a cold
If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help figure 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.
If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. Managing symptoms may also be called "palliative care" or "supportive care." It is often started soon after diagnosis and continued throughout treatment. Be sure to talk with your health care team about the symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.
The next section in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.