Canadian Cancer Society logo

Thyroid cancer

You are here: 

Signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer

A sign is something that can be observed and recognized by a doctor or healthcare professional (for example, a rash). A symptom is something that only the person experiencing it can feel and know (for example, pain or tiredness). The signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer can also be caused by other health conditions. It is important to have any unusual symptoms checked by a doctor.

Signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer are:

  • a lump in the front, lower part of the neck
  • a hoarse voice
  • difficulty swallowing
  • difficulty breathing
  • swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • a cough that doesn't go away and is not due to a cold
  • a sore throat that is not due to a cold
  • neck pain that doesn't go away

It is important to know that many patients with newly diagnosed thyroid cancer may not have any of these signs or symptoms.

Medullary thyroid cancer is a rare thyroid cancer that is characterized by increased amounts of the hormone calcitonin in the bloodstream. This can cause additional signs and symptoms such as:

  • diarrhea
  • flushed (red) face


Morgan Smith Even though we are high school students, we were able to raise so much money for the Canadian Cancer Society. It just goes to show what can happen when a small group of people come together for a great cause.

Read Morgan's story

Advocating for cancer patients

Illustration of a bullhorn

Our staff and volunteers meet with elected officials from local, provincial and national governments to persuade them to make the fight against cancer one of their top priorities.

Learn more