The main symptom of thyroid cancer is a lump in the front of the neck.

But thyroid cancer tends to develop slowly and there may not be any symptoms at first.

Neck lump

Thyroid cancer often causes a painless lump or swelling low down in the front of the neck.

However, neck lumps are common and are usually caused by a less serious condition, such as an enlarged thyroid (goitre). Only around 1 in every 20 is cancer.

A neck lump is more likely to be cancer if it:

  • feels firm
  • doesn't move around easily under the skin
  • gets bigger over time

See your GP if you have a swelling or lump at the front of your neck. While it's unlikely to be cancer, it's important to get it checked out.

Other symptoms

Other symptoms of thyroid cancer include:

Rarely, thyroid cancer can affect the production of thyroid hormones and cause diarrhoea and flushing.

These problems can have causes other than cancer, but it's a good idea to see your GP if you develop any persistent symptoms that you're worried about.

Page last reviewed: 17/08/2016
Next review due: 17/08/2019