Thyroid Cancer

Types of Thyroid Cancer

There are four main types of thyroid cancer:

  • Papillary This is the most common type of thyroid cancer. It effects young women most frequently.
  • Follicular This is a less common type of cancer, usually found in older people.

These two types are sometimes called differentiated thyroid cancer and they are usually treated in the same way.

  • Medullary This is a rare type of thyroid cancer that can run in families. For this reason, members of your family may be checked at regular intervals to ensure they are not showing any signs of the cancer.
  • Anaplastic This is also a rare type of thyroid cancer. It occurs more commonly in older people and grows quickly. Unlike other types of thyroid cancer, it can be difficult to treat.

It is also possible to have a lymphoma of the thyroid gland. This is another rare type of thyroid cancer, which starts in the lymph tissue of the thyroid. The lymph tissue is part of the body’s lymphatic system. Usually thyroid lymphomas are a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

Apart from the anaplastic type and lymphoma, cancer of the thyroid tends to develop very slowly, and it may be some years before it starts to cause any problems. With treatment, the outlook for most people with cancer of the thyroid is very good and most people are completely cured, even if the cancer has spread beyond the thyroid.

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