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5 Harmful Types of Thyroid Cancer

June 19, 2022
Est. Reading: 3 minutes

Types of Thyroid Cancer -Thyroid cancer starts in the thyroid gland. What is thyroid? The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck. It makes thyroid hormone, which helps to regulate the body's metabolism.

Thyroid cancer is usually detected early on through a routine physical exam or imaging tests such as thyroid ultrasound or CT scan. The most common thyroid cancer symptoms are a lump or mass in the neck. Other symptoms may include hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and pain in the neck or throat.

Thyroid cancer treatment depends on the type and stage of cancer. Surgery is the most common treatment for all types of thyroid cancer. Radioactive iodine therapy may destroy any remaining thyroid cells after surgery. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy sometimes treat more aggressive forms of thyroid cancer.

thyroid cancer symptoms

Types of Thyroid Cancer

There are four main types of thyroid cancer, each named after the kind of cell in which cancer first begins:

Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common type, accounting for about 80% of all cases. Follicular thyroid cancer makes up about 10-15% of all cases and is also typically slow-growing. Medullary thyroid cancer is the least common type, making up about 5% of all cases. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is the most aggressive form and represents less than 5% of all cases.

  • Papillary Thyroid Cancer: Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common thyroid cancer, accounting for about 80% of all cases. It is usually slow-growing and has a good prognosis.
  • Follicular Thyroid Cancer: Follicular thyroid cancer makes up about 10-15% of all cases and is also usually slow-growing.
  • Medullary Thyroid Cancer: Medullary thyroid cancer is the least common type, making up about 5% of all cases. This type of thyroid cancer is more aggressive and has a poorer prognosis.
  • Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer: Anaplastic thyroid cancer is the most aggressive form of thyroid cancer and represents less than 5% of all cases.

Thyroid Cancer Symptoms 

Thyroid cancer is usually detected early on through a routine physical exam or imaging tests such as thyroid ultrasound or CT scan. The most common thyroid cancer symptom is a neck lump or mass. The individual may feel or detect this lump during a routine physical exam. Other symptoms of thyroid cancer include hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and pain in the neck or throat.

Thyroid Cancer Treatment

Thyroid cancer treatment depends on the type and stage of cancer. Surgery is the most common treatment for all types of thyroid cancer. Radioactive iodine therapy may destroy any remaining thyroid cells after surgery. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy sometimes treat more aggressive forms of thyroid cancer.

  • Surgery: Surgery is the most common treatment for all types of thyroid cancer. Surgery aims to remove the entire tumor and some surrounding healthy tissue (called the margins) while sparing as much of the normal thyroid tissue as possible.
  • Radioactive iodine therapy: Radioactive iodine therapy may destroy any remaining thyroid cells after surgery.
  • Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams, such as X-rays, to kill cancer cells. It sometimes treats more aggressive forms of thyroid cancer.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It sometimes treats more aggressive forms of thyroid cancer.
  • Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that targets specific molecules involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. It treats more aggressive forms of thyroid cancer.
  • Clinical trials: Clinical trials are research studies that test new cancer treatments in people. They may be an option for people with all types of thyroid cancer.

The side effects of thyroid cancer treatment depend on the type and stage of cancer and the kind of treatment received. Treatment side effects can range from mild to severe, including fatigue, nausea, vomiting, pain, skin changes, hair loss, and more. A doctor will work with the individual to manage their side effects and help them cope.

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