Thyroid cancer is a type of cancer that forms in the thyroid gland; an organ at the base of the throat producing hormones that help control one's heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight. Treatment depends on the type of thyroid cell that the cancer originates from1.
What are the different types of thyroid cancer?
There are four main types of thyroid cancer: papillary, follicular, medullary or anaplastic.
Papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) is the most common and usually grows very slowly, often spreading to lymph nodes in the neck, and sometimes to the lungs and bones. Follicular thyroid cancer (FTC) is the second most common and is usually found in countries where people do not get enough iodine from food. Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) is less common. By the time it is diagnosed it may already have spread to the lymph nodes, liver, or lungs. Finally, anaplastic carcinoma is a very rare and aggressive form of thyroid cancer. By the time it is diagnosed it usually has spread to the neck and other parts of the body. It grows rapidly and is also the most fatal form of thyroid cancer2.
How many people are diagnosed with thyroid cancer each year?
Around 298,000 new cases of thyroid cancer are diagnosed every year, making up for 2.1% of all cancer diagnoses3.
1. Thyroid Cancer Treatment (Adult) (PDQ®) – Patient Version,
National Cancer Institute, updated January 2018. Cited on 13/03/2018.
2. Types of Thyroid Cancer – Topic Overview,|
WebMD. Cited on 13/03/2018.
3. Cancer facts & figures – Worldwide data,
World Cancer Research Fund International, 2014. Cited on 13/03/2018.