Symptoms of papillary thyroid cancer, which may not appear immediately, include swelling or pain in the front of your neck, difficulty swallowing, and a hoarse voice.
Papillary thyroid cancer rarely causes symptoms until it grows large enough to create a noticeable tumor. Most of the time, this tumor is easily treatable with surgery. If the tumor grows large, it might cause additional symptoms such as:
- a hoarse voice
- trouble swallowing
If papillary thyroid cancer is caught before it spreads to other tissues, the chances of dying from it in the United States are almost 0%.
Keep reading to learn more about the potential symptoms of papillary thyroid cancer.
Papillary thyroid cancer usually starts as a
The mass is usually less than 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) across. It usually feels
Papillary thyroid cancer is sometimes discovered before it causes symptoms during a routine physical exam or imaging for an unrelated problem.
Other potential symptoms include:
- a sore throat
- difficulty breathing
- pain in the front of your neck
- facial flushing, which can be harder to notice with darker skin
- a chronic cough
- unintentional weight loss
When to see a doctor
It’s a good idea to see a doctor if you notice an enlargement or swelling around the front of your neck. Getting an early diagnosis gives you the best chance of receiving successful treatment.
Metastatic thyroid cancer
Metastatic cancer means that cancer has spread to distant parts of your body. Metastatic papillary thyroid cancer is rare, but when it occurs, it frequently involves your lungs or
In a 2019
Symptoms of metastatic papillary cancer that has spread to the bones
Potential symptoms of metastatic papillary cancer that has spread to bones include:
- bone pain
- easily fractured bone
- weakness in your arms or legs
- high levels of calcium in your blood, which can cause:
Symptoms of metastatic papillary cancer that has spread to the lungs
If the cancer spreads to your lungs, it’s possible to develop symptoms such as:
Risk factors for papillary thyroid cancer
- exposure to significant ionizing radiation
- childhood exposure to low dose radiation therapy of the head or neck, used to treat various diseases in the 1940s–1960s
- environmental radiation exposure, such as being near the Chornobyl nuclear accident in 1986, which increased rates of papillary thyroid carcinoma by
- living in a region with high dietary iodine intake
- having a pre-existing noncancerous thyroid disease
- having overweight or obesity
- having an associated genetic cancer syndrome such as:
- Carney complex type 1
Of people diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer from 2000–2019,
Here are the 5-year relative survival rates for papillary thyroid cancer in the United States between
|5-year relative survival rate
The 5-year relative survival rate is a measure of how many people with the cancer are alive 5 years after their diagnosis compared to people without the cancer.
- older age
- larger tumor size
- male sex
- growth outside of the thyroid gland
- spread to blood vessels
Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common type of thyroid cancer, and it also has the best outlook. The first symptom is often a noticeable mass in the front of your neck over your thyroid gland. Some people also have enlarged lymph nodes.
If you develop potential symptoms of thyroid cancer, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
With early treatment, almost everybody with papillary thyroid cancer limited to the thyroid gland survives. Surgery is the most common treatment for early-stage thyroid cancer.