What is Thyroid cancer
The thyroid is a gland at the base of the throat near the windpipe. It is shaped like a butterfly, with a right lobe and a left lobe. A thin piece of tissue connects the two lobes. The thyroid makes hormones that help control heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight.
There are four types of thyroid cancer. These are papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. Papillary is the most common type of thyroid cancer.
Anaplastic thyroid cancer is hard to cure with current treatment. Other types of thyroid cancer can usually be cured.
Being exposed to radiation to the head and neck as a child increases the risk of thyroid cancer. Having certain genetic conditions such as familial medullary thyroid cancer, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2A syndrome, and multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B syndrome can also increase the risk of thyroid cancer.
A Snapshot of Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer is the ninth most common cancer in the United States. In 2014, it is estimated that nearly 63,000 Americans will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and nearly 1,900 will die of the disease. The overall in<>cidence of thyroid cancer in the United States has increased in people of all racial/ethnic groups and in both males and females over the past several decades.
The incidence of thyroid cancer is increasing more rapidly than that of any other cancer in the United States. Some, although not all, of this increase can be explained by improved detection methods. Thyroid cancer incidence rates vary by both sex and race, with incidence being nearly three times higher in women than in men and nearly twice as high in whites as in African Americans. After whites, Asians/Pacific islanders have the second highest incidence. Overall mortality rates remain low despite rising an average of 0.8% annually from 2002-2011.
Most people who develop thyroid cancer are between age 25 and 65 years. Risk factors for thyroid cancer include being female, exposure to radiation to the head and neck as a child, exposure to radioactive fallout, a personal history of goiter, a family history of thyroid disease or thyroid cancer, certain genetic conditions, and Asian ancestry. There are no routine screening tests for thyroid cancer. Standard treatments for thyroid cancer include surgery, radiation therapy (including radioactive iodine therapy), chemotherapy, thyroid hormone therapy and targeted therapy.