Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer is more common among women than men and accounts for only one percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States. Most thyroid cancers grow slowly but certain types can be aggressive.

There are four major types of thyroid gland cancer: anaplastic, follicular, medullary and papillary. These types of thyroid cancer look differently under a microscope and generally grow at varying rates.


The most common symptom of thyroid cancer is a lump, or nodule, that can be felt in the thyroid gland or neck. Other symptoms are rare.

Pain is seldom an early warning sign of thyroid cancer. You may have a tight or full feeling in the neck, difficulty breathing or swallowing, hoarseness or swollen lymph nodes.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.