Thyroid Cancer

Definition of thyroid cancer: Cancer that forms in the thyroid gland (an organ at the base of the throat that makes hormones that help control heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight). Four main types of thyroid cancer are papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. The four types are based on how the cancer cells look under a microscope.

Estimated new cases of thyroid cancer in the United States in 2016: 64,300

Thyroid cancer is the ninth most common cancer in the United States. The overall incidence of thyroid cancer in the United States has increased in people of all racial/ethnic groups and in both males and females over the past several decades. Thyroid cancer incidence rates vary by both sex and race, with incidence being nearly three times higher in women than in men and nearly twice as high in whites as in African Americans.  After whites, Asians/Pacific islanders have the second highest incidence.  Most people who develop thyroid cancer are between age 25 and 65 years.

Risk factors for thyroid cancer include being female, exposure to radiation to the head and neck as a child, exposure to radioactive fallout, a personal history of goiter, a family history of thyroid disease or thyroid cancer, certain genetic conditions, and Asian ancestry. There are no routinescreening tests for thyroid cancer. Standard treatments for thyroid cancer include surgery,radiation therapy (including radioactive iodine therapy), chemotherapy, thyroid hormone therapy and targeted therapy.

The Following Stages Are Used For Papillary And Follicular Thyroid Cancer In Patients Younger Than 45 Years:

Stage I

In stage I papillary and follicular thyroid cancer, the tumor is any size, may be in the thyroid, or may have spread to nearby tissues and lymph nodes. Cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.

Stage II

In stage II papillary and follicular thyroid cancer, the tumor is any size and cancer has spread from the thyroid to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or bone, and may have spread tolymph nodes.

The Following Stages Are Used For Papillary And Follicular Thyroid Cancer In Patients 45 Years And Older:

In stage I papillary and follicular thyroid cancer, cancer is found only in the thyroid and the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller.

Stage II

In stage II papillary and follicular thyroid cancer, cancer is only in the thyroid and the tumor is larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 4 centimeters.

Stage III

In stage III papillary and follicular thyroid cancer, either of the following is found:

  • the tumor is larger than 4 centimeters and only in the thyroid or the tumor is any size and cancer has spread to tissues just outside the thyroid, but not to lymph nodes; or
  • the tumor is any size and cancer may have spread to tissues just outside the thyroid and has spread to lymph nodes near the trachea or the larynx (voice box).

Stage IV

Stage IV papillary and follicular thyroid cancer is divided into stages IVA, IVB, and IVC.

The Following Stages Are Used For Medullary Thyroid Cancer:

Stage 0

Stage 0 medullary thyroid cancer is found only with a special screening test. No tumor can be found in the thyroid.

Stage I

Stage I medullary thyroid cancer is found only in the thyroid and is 2 centimeters or smaller.

Stage II

In stage II medullary thyroid cancer, either of the following is found:

Stage III

In stage III medullary thyroid cancer, the tumor is any size, has spread to lymph nodes near the trachea and the larynx (voice box), and may have spread to tissues just outside the thyroid.

Stage IV

Stage IV medullary thyroid cancer is divided into stages IVA, IVB, and IVC.

Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer Is Considered Stage IV Thyroid Cancer.

Anaplastic thyroid cancer grows quickly and has usually spread within the neck when it is found. Stage IV anaplastic thyroid cancer is divided into stages IVA, IVB, and IVC.


All information was taken from the NCI (National Cancer Institute)

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