Symptoms of thyroid cancer
In most people, thyroid cancer develops very slowly.
Possible symptoms can be one or more of the following:
A painless lump in the neck that gradually gets bigger.
A hoarse voice for no reason that doesn’t go away after a few weeks.
Occasionally, a thyroid tumour may press on the gullet (oesophagus) or windpipe (trachea) and cause difficulty swallowing or breathing.
Very rarely, the first symptom of thyroid cancer may be pain in the back (spine) when the cancer has spread beyond the thyroid gland. This is caused by secondary tumours in the back.
It’s unusual for thyroid cancer to affect the level of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) in the blood, so symptoms of an over- or under-active thyroid are uncommon.
If you notice a lump in your neck, or any of the above symptoms, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. However, most thyroid swellings (or goitres) are benign (non-cancerous).