This section is for teens and young adults. It’s about a type of cancer called thyroid cancer.
We also have more information about:
If you're looking for information about thyroid cancer in people of all ages, please see our broader thyroid cancer information.
Papillary and follicular thyroid cancers are the most common types of thyroid cancer in young adults. If you'd like to find out about a different type of thyroid cancer you could talk to us.
It’s important to remember that thyroid cancer in young people can be successfully treated. Most young people are completely cured.
The first sign of thyroid cancer is usually a painless lump or swelling in the front of the neck that gradually gets bigger.
Less common symptoms are:
- a hoarse voice that doesn't get better
- difficulty swallowing or breathing.
If you have any of these symptoms it's important to seea doctor.
Remember – these symptoms can happen for lots of reasons other than cancer.
What are the causes of thyroid cancer?
We don’t fully understand what causes thyroid cancer. But research into possible causes is going on all the time. Some things called risk factors increase your chance of developing cancer. But having these doesn’t mean you’ll get cancer.
Genes are the biological information in each cell that we inherit from our parents. Genes affect the way we look (for example, our eye colour) and how our bodies grow and work. Some rare genetic conditions that run in families can increase the risk of thyroid cancer. But fewer than 1 in 10 cases of cancer are caused by an inherited faulty gene.
If you were exposed to radiation or had radiotherapy treatment to the neck area when you were younger, you may be at a higher risk of developing thyroid cancer many years later.
If you're worried about thyroid cancer
If you think you might have some of these symptoms you should go straight to your GP. They'll be able to talk to you about your symptoms. If they think the symptoms could be because of cancer, they can do tests to find out more.