What Are Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer?

Thyroid. Photo © A.D.A.M.

Question: What Are Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer?

There are four types of thyroid cancer, (papillary carcinoma, anaplastic carcinoma, follicular, and medullary), and symptoms of thyroid cancer may vary depending on the type and severity of thyroid cancer you have. Thyroid cancer should not be confused with parathyroid cancer.


While symptoms vary from person to person symptoms of all four types of thyroid cancer may include:

  • cough
  • difficulty or pain while swallowing
  • swelling of the thyroid gland (the area around your Adam's apple)
  • laryngitis, hoarseness, or voice loss
  • a visible lump, which can sometimes be seen to move up and down when swallowing

While changes in the amount of thyroid hormone is not generally an indication of thyroid cancer, most doctors will check your thyroid levels because sometimes blood levels of thyroid hormone can be altered to cause a state of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. It should also be noted that some tumors secrete a tumor marker called thyroglobulin, which can be detected in the blood. However, not all tumors secrete thyroglobulin. Thus, changes in hormone levels may be a symptom of thyroid cancer in some patients and not in others.

If you have symptoms of thyroid cancer, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible to be evaluated. The earlier the cancer is discovered, the more positive the outcome is likely to be.

Thyroid cancer can often be cured.


Medline Plus. Thyroid Cancer. Accessed: April 20, 2010 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001213.htm

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