Thyroid Cancer Symptoms

Doctor with stethoscopePeople with thyroid cancer can experience a number of symptoms. The most common warning signs are a lump (nodule) in the neck and swelling of the thyroid gland. In healthy individuals, the thyroid gland cannot be seen or felt. If a tumor develops in the thyroid, however, a lump can often be felt from outside the neck. Sometimes, this nodule can cause pain and discomfort. In other cases, patients do not even know that a nodule has developed until their physician detects it during a routine physical exam. If a nodule does place pressure on the surrounding structures, it can produce additional thyroid cancer symptoms, such as:

  • A persistent sore throat
  • A chronic cough
  • A choking sensation
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Changes in the patient’s voice
  • Pain in the ears, neck, or throat

In many cases, these symptoms are caused by a less serious condition; only one out of every 20 thyroid nodules is cancerous. However, it’s important to discuss with a physician any changes that don’t go away on their own. Thyroid cancers that are detected early are often curable; patients are encouraged to consult with a head and neck cancer specialist if any of these symptoms are present for more than a few days. A knowledgeable physician can perform diagnostic testing to determine the cause of a patient’s symptoms.

The ENT oncologists at Tampa General Hospital work exclusively with cancers of the head and neck, so they’re familiar with the specific warning signs that can indicate cancer. If a thyroid nodule is found to be cancerous, our team can create a comprehensive treatment plan that incorporates the newest and most effective thyroid cancer treatment options.  

For a physician referral, please call (813) 844-2200 or use our PhysicianFinder tool.