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Thyroid Cancer Symptoms & Diagnosis


If you have any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to thyroid cancer. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:

  • A lump in the neck
  • Neck pain, sometimes going up to the ears
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent cough
  • Enlarged lymph glands in the neck


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. This may include a careful examination of your neck to look for lumps or abnormalities.


  • Fine needle aspiration —removal of fluid and cells from a thyroid nodule with the use of a very thin needle
    • This test can be done in the doctor's office and may or may not require a local anesthetic.
  • Blood test
  • Thyroid scan— x-rays taken after radioactive iodine is injected into the blood
    • The iodine is absorbed by the thyroid gland. This causes it to light up and be more visible on x-ray.
  • Ultrasound—a test that uses sound waves to examine thyroid nodules
  • Surgical biopsy —removal of a sample of thyroid tissue to test for cancer cells

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2023 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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