Sarah Cannon - September 29, 2015

Thyroid cancer is the ninth most common cancer in the United States. In 2015 , itÕs estimated that nearly four percent of all new cancer cases will be thyroid cancer, which amounts to 62,450 new cases. The prevalence of thyroid cancer is nearly three times higher in women than men, and nearly twice as high in Caucasians than African Americans, with people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent having the second highest incidence rate.

There are four types of thyroid cancer: Thyroid Cancer

  • Papillary thyroid cancer Ñ the most common type, accounting for 80 percent of all cases, can occur at any age and tends to grow slowly, often spreading to lymph nodes in the neck.
  • Follicular thyroid cancer Ñ forms in the follicular cells in the thyroid and tends to occur in older patients, accounting for about 10 to 15 percent of all cases.
  • Medullary thyroid cancer Ñ develops in the C cells of the thyroid (the cells that make the hormone calcitonin, which helps maintain blood calcium levels).
  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer Ñ a rare, aggressive type of thyroid cancer with the poorest prognosis.

Signs and Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer may not have early signs. As the tumor grows, it can cause symptoms such as the following:

  • Lump in the neck
  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Hoarseness in the throat

To check for thyroid cancer, the following tests and procedures may be used:

Because the type of thyroid cancer can be hard to diagnose, biopsy samples should be checked by a pathologist who has experience diagnosing thyroid cancer.

Genetic testing is available for multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2) , Thyroid Cancer a genetic syndrome associated with medullary thyroid cancer .

Risk Factors for Thyroid Cancer

Although there are no routine screening tests for thyroid cancer, there are factors that can increase the risk of developing the disease. These include:


American Thyroid Association
National Cancer Institute
Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program