Thyroid cancer is cancer of the thyroid gland. This gland makes thyroid hormone, and it is found in the front of the neck. Thyroid gland tumors often appear as bumps in the neck, called nodules, usually in the thyroid gland. In most cases, thyroid nodules are not cancerous.
There are several types of thyroid cancer, including:
Papillary carcinoma (most common type)—It usually grows very slowly and often spreads to lymph nodes in the neck. If caught early, this type of thyroid cancer is often curable.
Follicular carcinoma (second most common type)—It usually stays in the thyroid gland, but can spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs and bones. It does not usually spread to the lymph nodes. If caught early, this type of thyroid cancer is often curable.
Anaplastic carcinoma (rare form of thyroid cancer)—It quickly invades the neck and other parts of the body and is often fatal.
Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC)—This cancer develops from cells in the thyroid gland called C-cells.
MTC often spreads to the lymph nodes, lungs, or liver before a thyroid nodule has been discovered. There are two types of MTC:
Familial medullary thyroid carcinoma (FMTC)
Thyroid lymphoma (rare type of thyroid cancer)—Many cases occur in people who have a disease called
Because the exact cause of thyroid cancer is unknown, finding it early and treating it is the best way to prevent dying from the disease. Your doctor may recommend screening tests for you, for example:
Have a thyroid exam every three years if you are aged 20-39 years old
Have a thyroid exam every year if you are aged 40 years or older
exposure to radiation is a major risk factor for thyroid cancer, you should:
Avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation.
If you have been exposed to radiation of the head, neck, or chest, have frequent checks for thyroid cancer.
General information about thyroid cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Accessed September 17, 2012.
Papillary thyroid cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated August 13, 2012. Accessed September 17, 2012.
Thyroid cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) . Accessed September 17, 2012.
4/7/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance ...(Click grey area to select URL) Wolinski K, Czarnywojtek A, et al. Risk of thyroid nodular disease and thyroid cancer in patients with acromegay—meta-analysis and systemic review. PLoS One. 2014 Feb 14;9(2):e88787.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.