Often, thyroid cancer in its early stages does not exhibit symptoms. Many cases are found on routine examination as part of a physical. Your doctor may palpate, or feel, the area around the front of your neck, and may ask you to swallow some water as he or she is doing this. This allows for detection of any enlargement or mass in the thyroid.
The following represent symptoms typical of thyroid cancer.
- A lump in the front of the neck
- Hoarseness or voice changes
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Trouble swallowing or breathing
- Pain in the throat or neck that does not go away
- Persistent cough; coughing up blood
Patients with medullary thyroid cancer may also experience (in addition to the foregoing):
- Facial flushing/redness
These symptoms are due to increased levels of calcitonin common in this form of thyroid cancer.