Symptoms of a thyroid mass include a fullness sensation or pain in the throat, difficulty swallowing and difficulty breathing, reports WebMD. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism may also occur. Sometimes masses are large enough to feel or see.
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism, which occurs when the body has too much thyroid hormone, include feeling nervous, sweating a lot, a fast heartbeat or weight loss, says WebMD. The symptoms of hypothyroidism, which occurs when the body does not have enough thyroid hormone, include constipation, feeling tired or depressed, memory problems, dry skin or feeling cold. When masses are visible, they often appear as a swelling at the base of the neck, explains Mayo Clinic.
Sometimes thyroid masses are cancerous, states Mayo Clinic. The cancerous masses tend to be fixed masses that grow rapidly. Symptoms alone do not provide adequate information to tell whether a thyroid mass is cancerous. Size is also not a predictor of whether cancer is present.
Most thyroid masses are not cancerous and do not cause symptoms, according to Mayo Clinic. They are also too small to feel, notes WebMD. Doctors, however, should evaluate any unusual neck swelling, especially if symptoms of difficulty swallowing or breathing are present. Patients who experience symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism should also seek medical attention.