Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid Cancer is cancer that starts or worse in the Thyroid. It can be significant and is seen in several forms.

The Thyroid is an important gland in the neck, that functions in helping to control the body’s metabolism.

Less than 5% of nodules found on the exam actually are a result of cancer. This means, that just because a lump is found, it doesn’t always mean that it is cancer.

However, if a lump is found, an extensive workup may be required.


–  Nodule or growth in the neck region
–  Nausea
–  Vomiting
–  Difficulty swallowing
–  Lymph node enlargement
–  Weakness
–  Loss of weight
–  Symptoms of hyperthyroidism in some cases
–  Symptoms of hypothyroidism in some cases

Different Types of Cancer:

1.)  Papillary
2.)  Follicular
3.)  Medullary
4.)  AnaplasticImage result for Thyroid cancer

Papillary Tumor

–  This is the most common type of thyroid cancer in the United States.
–  It is often seen in women between ages 30s and 40s and is also seen in children
–  Can occur following radiation of the head and neck
–  The severity of symptoms and such is widely variable
–  Can metastasize to cervical lymph nodes
–  Treatment is usually surgery

Follicular Tumor

–  Occurs in women whose age is over 50
–  Thyroglobulin is a tumor marker used
–  Can metastasize or move to bone or lungs
–  Treatment is surgery and radiation

Medullary Tumor

–  This type of tumor arises from “parafollicular cells”
  –  Calcitonin is typically produced from these cells
–  Calcitonin may be elevated in the presence of this tumor
  –  Carcinoembyronic antigen (CEA) is another tumor marker
–  There may be a genetic component to this cancer
–  Treatment is surgery
–  Radioiodine therapy is not beneficial in this tumor
–  Prognosis is worse then papillary and follicular tumors

Anaplastic Tumor

–  This is also referred to as undifferentiated tumor
–  It is considered more aggressive
–  It is also more resistant to treatment
–  Can be quickly found in tissue outside the thyroid
–  Surgery is less beneficial
–  Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are mildly helpful


1.)  Biopsy with a fine needle is essential for determination of cancer and classification

2.)  Blood work is essential for tumor markers or other thyroid hormones

3.)  Ultrasound is important


This largely depends on the classification

–  Medication
–  Surgery
–  Radioiodine
–  Chemotherapy