Miami Cancer Institute’s multidisciplinary team of physicians and cancer specialists understand what makes thyroid cancer treatment effective – experience, teamwork and technology. They are dedicated to providing you with individualized care.
About Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer is the most common malignancy of the endocrine system, and it is one of the most rapidly increasing cancer diagnoses in the United States. The good news is: It is one of the least dangerous cancers in most cases, and the five-year survival rate for all types of thyroid cancer is nearly 97 percent.
Thyroid cancer occurs in the thyroid gland, which sits in the front of the neck at the base of the throat. The thyroid is part of the body's endocrine system and makes hormones that help regulate the body's heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and metabolism.
The thyroid gland has two main types of cells and different cancers can form in each type of cell:
- Follicular cells use iodine from the blood to make thyroid hormones. These hormones help regulate metabolism.
- Parafollicular cells, also called C cells, make calcitonin. This hormone helps control how the body uses calcium.
Types of thyroid cancer are:
- Papillary carcinoma
accounts for about 80 percent of thyroid cancers. This cancer type grows slowly and usually develops in only one lobe of the thyroid gland.
- Follicular carcinoma
accounts for about 10 percent of thyroid cancers. These cancers usually do not spread to lymph nodes but can spread to other parts of the body.
- Other, less common, types of thyroid cancers are: medullary thyroid carcinoma, anaplastic carcinoma, thyroid lymphoma and thyroid sarcoma.
Thyroid Cancer Risk Factors
Although the exact cause of thyroid cancer is not yet known, researchers have identified some risk factors, including:
- Female – women are three times as likely as men to develop thyroid cancer.
- Age – Nearly 70 percent of thyroid cancers are diagnosed between ages 20 and 55.
- Diet low in iodine.
- Exposure to radiation, especially in childhood.
- Hereditary conditions.
- History of goiter (enlarged thyroid).
Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer rarely causes symptoms in its early stages. If symptoms are present, they may include:
- Lump or swelling in the front of the neck
- Pain in the neck or ears
- Swallowing difficulties
- Breathing problems
- Voice change or hoarseness.
- Chronic cough