Rafed English

Thyroid cancer


Thyroid cancer is a cancerous growth of the thyroid gland.

Alternative Names

Tumor - thyroid; Cancer - thyroid


Thyroid cancer can occur in all age groups.

People who have had radiation therapy to the neck are at higher risk. Radiation therapy was commonly used in the 1950s to treat enlarged thymus glands, adenoids and tonsils, and skin disorders. People who received radiation therapy as children are at increased risk for developing thyroid cancer.Other risk factors are a family history of thyroid cancer and chronic goiter.

There are several types of thyroid cancer:

• Anaplastic carcinoma (also called giant and spindle cell cancer) is the most dangerous form of thyroid cancer. It is rare, and does not respond to radioiodine therapy. Anaplastic carcinoma spreads quickly and invades nearby structures such as the windpipe (trachea), causing breathing difficulties.

• Follicular carcinoma accounts for about 10% of all cases and is more likely to come back and spread.

• Medullary carcinoma is a cancer of nonthyroid cells that are normally present in the thyroid gland. This form of the thyroid cancer tends to occur in families. It requires different treatment than other types of thyroid cancer.

• Papillary carcinoma is the most common type, and usually affects women of childbearing age. It spreads slowly and is the least dangerous type of thyroid cancer.


• Cough

• Difficulty swallowing

• Enlargement of the thyroid gland

• Hoarseness or changing voice

• Neck swelling

• Thyroid lump (nodule)

Note: Symptoms may vary depending on the type of thyroid cancer


There is no known prevention. Awareness of risk (such as previous radiation therapy to the neck) can allow earlier diagnosis and treatment.

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