Thyroid Cancer Symptoms

Thyroid cancer symptoms commonly include a lump and/or swelling in the neck. While many thyroid conditions are benign, a patient who notices either of these signs should consult with a physician promptly for evaluation and treatment.

Many thyroid conditions are benign, but any lump or swelling of the neck should be examined by a physician.

Located at the base of the throat, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that produces important hormones that help the body function properly. Specifically, the thyroid is comprised of two main types of cells: follicular cells, which regulate the body’s metabolism, and parafollicular cells, which control how the body uses calcium. Thyroid cancer can develop in either type of cell. 

In addition to a lump or swollen area in the neck, thyroid cancer symptoms may include:

  • A sore throat
  • A sensation of fullness in the neck
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Choking sensations
  • Breathing problems
  • Persistent coughing that is unrelated to a cold
  • Voice changes
  • Hoarseness
  • Ear pain

When evaluating a patient’s thyroid cancer symptoms, a physician will typically feel the patient’s throat to check for possible lumps or nodules and possibly order a CT scan, ultrasound or blood test. If cancer is suspected based on the presence of an unusual growth, the physician may perform a fine needle biopsy to obtain a small sample of thyroid tissue to be examined under a microscope for the presence of cancer cells.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we offer highly specialized programs for managing patients with benign and malignant tumors of the thyroid and other endocrine organs. The physicians, surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and other skilled professionals on our thyroid cancer team have world-class expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions, and our patient care philosophy is based on a comprehensive, evidence-based approach. In a single, convenient location, our patients have access to innovative therapies, including advanced non-surgical interventions and clinical trials, as well as a full range of supportive services.

Moffitt welcomes patients who would like to have their thyroid cancer symptoms evaluated, and no referral is necessary to consult with our experienced, multispecialty team. To learn more, call 1-888-663-3488 or schedule an appointment online.