A carotid body tumor may not cause any symptoms at first, but it can usually be felt as a slow-growing, painless mass on the side of the neck. As the tumor enlarges, over the course of several years, it may begin to cause symptoms that include:
A carotid body tumor is extremely slow growing and is not an emergency, but anyone with a suspected or diagnosed carotid body tumor should be referred to a cerebrovascular neurosurgeon for evaluation. (See Diagnosing and Treating a Carotid Body Tumor.)
Reviewed by Justin Schwarz, M.D.
Last reviewed/last updated: August 2021