What are the signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer?

Updated: May 14, 2020
  • Author: Pramod K Sharma, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Thyroid carcinoma most commonly manifests as a painless, palpable, solitary thyroid nodule. Patients or clinicians discover most of these nodules during routine palpation of the neck.

Signs and symptoms associated with malignancy in thyroid nodules include the following:

  • Solitary nodules: Most likely to be malignant in patients older than 60 years and in patients younger than 30 years

  • Increased rate of malignancy in males

  • Nodular growth

  • Rapid growth: Ominous sign

  • Usually painless (nontender to palpation); sudden onset of pain more strongly associated with benign disease (eg, hemorrhage into a benign cyst, subacute viral thyroiditis)

  • Hard and fixed nodules

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