Thyroid cancer is a tumor that develops from the thyroid gland, one of the two small endocrine glands in the human body. Thyroid cancer is the most common type of cancer seen among women and men; it is the second most common form of cancer. Thyroid cancer is caused by the abnormal growth of cells in the thyroid gland. The symptoms of thyroid cancer vary depending on where the tumor is located, but they may include weight loss, difficulty breathing, hoarseness, and fatigue. You can preserve your life from getting affected by this form of cancer with early detection and treatment.

What Exactly is a Thyroid Gland:

The thyroid gland is a small organ located in the front of your neck just below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid helps regulate the body’s metabolism and produce hormones that impact everything from energy levels to growth and development. The abnormal growth of the cells in this gland is one of the common reasons for thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancers can be benign (noncancerous), or malignant (cancerous). Benign thyroid cancers are the most common type, but malignant thyroid cancers can be very serious and life-threatening. The risk of developing thyroid cancer increases with age, and people who have other types of cancer are more likely to develop thyroid cancer.

Most Common Types of Thyroid Cancer:

Thyroid cancer can be categorized into four different types that include: Papillary Carcinoma, Follicular Carcinoma, Medullary Carcinoma, and Anaplastic Carcinoma.  Accounting for about 75%, Papillary Carcinoma is the most common type of thyroid cancer.  Now, let’s get a clear understanding of these thyroid cancer types

  • Papillary Thyroid Cancer

Papillary thyroid cancer arises from one or more small follicles (cells in the neck that produces hormones). This type of thyroid cancer typically affects people over the age of 50. This cancer typically grows slowly and can often be treated with radiation and/or surgery. Papillary thyroid cancer is more likely to occur in women than men, and it is also more likely to occur in people who have a family history of the disease.

Symptoms of papillary thyroid cancer may include hoarseness, difficulty breathing, and weight loss.

  • Follicular Thyroid Cancer

This is the second most common type of thyroid cancer and it occurs in the cells that produce thyroid hormones. Radiation therapy and/or surgery is the best treatment option for this cancer type.

Symptoms depend on the location and size of the tumor but can include weight gain, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. If the tumor is large or metastasized (has spread to other parts of the body), it can cause problems with breathing and swallowing.

  • Medullary Thyroid Cancer

This thyroid cancer type accounts for around 15% of all thyroid cancers. The risk of developing Medullary thyroid cancer is increased by a number of factors including being female, having a family history of the disease, and being overweight or obese. Symptoms typically include an irregular or slow heartbeat, weight loss, fatigue, and difficulty breathing.

Medullary thyroid cancer typically grows slowly and is treated with surgery and/or radiation therapy. If it is caught early enough, the outlook for patients is generally good.

  • Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer

This is a rare type of cancerous tumor that arises from the cells in the thyroid gland. Anaplastic thyroid cancer may occur in any age group, but is most common in adults over the age of 60. Symptoms may include weight loss, hoarseness, difficulty breathing, and fatigue. If left untreated, this type of cancer can spread to other parts of the body.

Treatment typically involves surgery to remove the tumor and chemotherapy or radiation therapy to treat any nearby tumors.

How Common is Thyroid Cancer?

American Cancer Society states that thyroid cancer is usually the most common type of cancer that is detected among women and men. Also, research reveals that thyroid cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death among women and the third most common cause of cancer death among men. The risk of developing thyroid cancer depends on a person’s age, race, sex, and family history. This type of cancer usually goes unnoticed until the condition worsens. According to the American Thyroid Association (ATA), up to 85 percent of people who develop thyroid cancer don’t have any symptoms at all.

How is Thyroid Cancer Diagnosed?

Despite its prevalence, many people are unaware that they might have thyroid cancer – or do not know how to find out if they are at risk. The best way to avert thyroid cancer is to get screened regularly for the disease by your doctor. If you are diagnosed with thyroid cancer, there are treatments available that can extend your life significantly.

Most thyroid cancers are diagnosed when a person has symptoms, like weight gain or fatigue. Doctors may use a blood test to check for thyroid cancer, or they may look at a person’s symptoms and history. Doctors may also perform imaging tests such as ultrasound or CT scan to see if there is any evidence of the disease.  If those methods don’t reveal the tumor, then a biopsy may be needed.

How is Thyroid Cancer Managed or Treated?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing thyroid cancer, as the treatment plan will depend on the specific type and stage of the disease. However, common treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

Early-Stage: Early-stage disease is usually treated with surgery to remove the tumor, followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy. If the tumor does not shrink after treatment, then a patient may be referred to a head and neck specialist for further evaluation or surgery.

Late-Stage: Late-stage disease is more difficult to treat and often requires chemotherapy or radiation therapy as well as surgery. About 85% of patients who receive early-stage treatment are cured, while about 90% of patients who receive late-stage treatment are cured.

Some people may also need a Thyroidectomy, which is the removal of all or part of the thyroid gland. If cancer has spread beyond the thyroid gland, patients may also require hormone therapy or a bone marrow transplant.


In conclusion, Thyroid cancer is a serious disease that requires early detection and treatment. If you are experiencing any symptoms, be sure to see an expert Oncologist. People who are at risk for thyroid cancer should have their thyroid checked regularly and receive regular screenings. Early detection and treatment can help preserve your life. Additionally, be sure to practice healthy lifestyle habits to help prevent thyroid cancer from developing in the first place.

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