Signs & Symptoms

Thyroid cancers are usually detected by patients or doctors when they feel a lump in the neck or when an imaging test for an unrelated condition shows a lump in the thyroid gland. Other rare signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer include:

  • A lump or bump somewhere else in the neck: A metastatic lymph node with a biopsy showing thyroid cancer is a rare way that thyroid cancer can be detected.
  • Change in voice: Unlike benign tumours in the thyroid gland, thyroid cancers can invade the nerves to the voice box (larynx) or even adjacent structures such as the trachea and esophagus. This could lead to a hoarse voice or difficulty breathing.
  • Difficulty with swallowing (dysphagia): If thyroid tumours become very large (or invade surrounding structures), they can cause difficulty with swallowing.

It is important to note that a patient could have one or more of these symptoms and NOT have thyroid cancer. There are several non-cancerous causes of the same symptoms. That is why it is important for patients to go see a doctor if they are experiencing any of these symptoms.