Skip to main content
Avg ER Wait
Checking ER Wait Time
The feed could not be reached
TriStar Centennial Medical Center

Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

If you experience any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to cancer. Most of these symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your physician.

Symptoms of thyroid cancer include the following:

Swelling or lump in neck—An enlarging lump in the lower neck may be due to a thyroid nodule. The lump may be painless or painful.

Neck pain—As thyroid cancer grows, it may put pressure on nearby nerves and structures, causing pain. The pain may irritate nerves, causing the sensation of pain to run from the area of the thyroid all the way up to the ears.

Hoarse voice—Pressure from an enlarging thyroid on the nearby voice box may cause the voice to sound hoarse.

Noisy breathing, wheezing—When the thyroid enlarges enough to press against the trachea (windpipe), your breathing may sound harsh (called stridor), raspy, or wheezy (whistling).

Cough—Pressure from a thyroid tumor on the trachea may also cause you to cough.

Difficulty swallowing—If the thyroid expands enough to put pressure on the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the mouth into the stomach), you may find it hard to swallow.

Revision Information

  • Baudin E, Schlumberger M. New therapeutic approaches for metastatic thyroid carcinoma. Lancet Oncol. 2007;8:148-156.

  • Conn’s Current Therapy. 54th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders; 2002: 652-657.

  • Cooper DS, Doherty GM, et al. The American Thyroid Association Guidelines Taskforce: management guidelines for patients with thyroid nodules and differentiated thyroid cancer. Thyroid. 2006;16:1-33.

  • Cornett WR, Sharma AK, et al. Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma: an overview. Curr Oncol Rep. 2007;9:152-158.

  • Rachmiel M, Charron M, et al. Evidence-based review of treatment and follow up of pediatric patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2006;19:1377-1393.

  • Thyroid carcinoma. In: Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 21st ed. Philadelphia,PA: WB Saunders; 2000: 1247-1250.

  • What is thyroid cancer? American Cancer Society website. Available at Accessed December 10, 2002.

  • What you need to know about cancer of the thyroid. National Cancer Institute website. Available at Accessed December 10, 2002.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. TriStar Health does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.