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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.
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Cornett WR, Sharma AK, et al. Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma: an overview. Curr Oncol Rep. 2007;9:152-158.
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What is thyroid cancer? American Cancer Society website. Available at http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/CRI_2_3x.asp?dt=43. Accessed December 10, 2002.
What you need to know about cancer of the thyroid. National Cancer Institute website. Available at http://cancer.gov. Accessed December 10, 2002.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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