Thyroid cancer isn’t that common in the United States, but rates seem to be increasing, likely due to new technology allowing for detection of small thyroid cancers that might not have been as detectable in the past. The good news? Most cases of thyroid cancer can be cured with treatment.
Thyroid cancer is the abnormal and uncontrollable growth of cells in the thyroid gland, a gland located in front of the esophagus responsible for the production of several crucial hormones. The thyroid is composed of two main types of cells:
- Follicular cells, which are responsible for making thyroid hormone, a hormone that helps to regulate metabolism.
- C cells, which are responsible for making calcitonin, a hormone that helps regulate calcium use in the body.
There are many different types of thyroid cancer. The classification of thyroid cancer depends on the cells it arises from. Most often, thyroid cancers develop from follicular cells.
Types of thyroid that arise from follicular cells include:
- Papillary carcinoma (80% of cases)
- Follicular carcinoma (10% of cases)
- Hurthle cell carcinoma (3% of cases)
Other types of thyroid cancers include:
- Medullary thyroid carcinoma (4% of cases)
- Anaplastic carcinoma (2% of cases)
- Thyroid lymphoma (<1% of cases)
- Thyroid sarcoma (<1% of cases)