Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma: What You Need to Know

Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma: What You Need to Know

Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is the most common type of thyroid cancer, accounting for approximately 80% of all new cases of the disease in the United States. It is typically diagnosed in young adults and can be difficult to detect in its early stages.

What Are the Symptoms of Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma?

The symptoms of PTC can vary depending on the size and location of the tumor. Common symptoms include:

  • A lump in the neck
  • Hoarseness or difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain in the neck, throat, or ears
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck
  • Frequent coughing

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away.

What Causes Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma?

The exact cause of PTC is unknown. However, there are some known risk factors that may increase your chances of developing the condition, such as:

  • Iodine deficiency
  • Radiation exposure, such as from X-rays or radiation therapy
  • Having a family history of thyroid cancer or other thyroid conditions
  • Having certain genetic conditions, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)

How Is Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma Diagnosed?

Your doctor will conduct a physical exam and order certain tests to diagnose PTC. These tests may include imaging tests like an ultrasound or CT scan, as well as a biopsy of the affected area.

How Is Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma Treated?

Treatment for PTC usually involves surgery to remove the affected thyroid tissue. In some cases, radiation therapy or chemotherapy may also be used. Your doctor will develop a treatment plan based on your individual needs.


Papillary thyroid carcinoma is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment. While there are effective treatments available, it’s important to be aware of your risk factors and to be proactive about speaking with your doctor if you have any symptoms.