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Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid Cancer develops when thyroid cells divide in an abnormal way into one of the four types of thyroid cancer – Papillary, Follicular, Medullary and Anaplastic.

  • 95% of thyroid cancers can be cured with early diagnosis and treatments.
  • Early detection, diagnosis and treatment is important for a positive outcome.
  • Thyroid cancer occurs when cells within the thyroid gland divide and grow in a disorderly manner and become malignant.
  • Thyroid cancer is divided into four main types; Papillary, Follicular, Medullary and Anaplastic.

Thyroid Cancer is divided into four main types:


  1. Papillary cancer is the most common type of thyroid cancer, representing approximately 70% of all cases. Papillary cancer develops from the thyroid’s follicular cells with a tumour forming in one lobe of the gland.

  2. Follicular cancer is the second most common type of thyroid cancer, with about 25% represented. This cancer also develops from the thyroid’s follicular cells.

  3. Medullary cancer is less common, representing about 4% of all thyroid cancers. This cancer develops from the C-cells. It can be linked to an inherited faulty gene, or occur sporadically. A patient can inherit familial medullary thyroid cancer (FMTC or a type of multiple endocrine neoplasia (Men) syndrome. This puts the patient at risk of developing endocrine tumours.

  4. Anaplastic is a very rare form of thyroid cancer. It is most common in elderly people. Representing 1% of all thyroid cancers. This type of cancer develops from the follicular cells, or may develop from undiagnosed papillary or follicular thyroid cancer.

Thyroid cancer appears to be increasing in frequency and is almost always treated successfully (95% can be cured). The most common sign of thyroid cancer is the development of a lump in or on the thyroid gland or swelling of the gland. Other symptoms suggesting thyroid cancer include hoarseness of the voice, difficulty in swallowing and swelling of the lymph glands in the neck.

Treatment for thyroid cancer is surgical removal of the thyroid gland, (total thyroidectomy) usually followed by radioactive iodine therapy and lifelong thyroxine replacement therapy.

The ATF, with our Chief Medical Advisors, Professor Leigh Delbridge and Professor Bruce Robinson, contributed to this recent publication, with information relating to diagnosis, treatments and outcomes of thyroid cancer. It is highly recommended by The ATF.


CLICK HERE to download more information regarding Understanding Thyroid Cancer.


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