What is Thyroid Cancer?

thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer is a form of cancer that develops within the gland of thyroid. The cancer develops when the cells start to grow beyond control.

The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate your metabolism and blood pressure, heart rate and temperature of your body.

The place where thyroid cancer first begins

The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck, just below it is the thyroid cartilage. For most individuals, it can’t be felt or observed. It’s shaped as a butterfly with two lobes, the right one as well as the left one that are joined by a small part of gland known as the isthmus.

The thyroid gland is home to two principal kinds of cells:

Cells called follicular:

Cells called follicular utilize iodine found in the bloodstream to produce thyroid hormones that help control the metabolism of an individual. In excess of thyroid hormone may cause quick and irregular heartbeat difficulty sleeping, anxiety and hunger and weight loss. It can also cause an uneasy feeling of being warm. A lack of hormone (hypothyroidism) can cause people to get tired, and then gain weight. Thyroxine levels produced by the thyroid gland is controlled through the pituitary gland located at the brain’s base and produces a chemical known as the thyroid stimulating hormone.

C cells:

C cells produce calcitonin. It is which is a hormone that controls how calcium is used by the body.

Other cells that are not as common found in the thyroid gland are lymphoid system cells (lymphocytes) as well as supportive (stromal) cells.

Different cancers arise from different type of cell. These differences are significant since they impact the severity of the cancer and what kind of treatment is required.

A variety of kinds of tumors and forms can form within the gland of thyroid. The majority of them tend to be benign however, some can be malignant which means they could spread to adjacent tissues and even other areas of the body.

Thyroid conditions that are not benign

Thyroid enlargement

Thyroid gland changes in size and shape can be felt, or even observed by patients or even by their physician.

An unusually large thyroid gland is sometimes referred to as a goiter. Goiters can be diffuse, which means that the entire gland is massive. Others are nodular, which means it is huge and contains some or all of the nodules (bumps) within the gland. There are a variety of reasons why the thyroid gland could be bigger than normal and, most times it’s not cancerous. Nodular and diffuse goiters typically result from an imbalance of certain hormones. For instance, not having enough iodine from the diet may cause changes in hormone levels, which can cause the appearance of a goiter.

Thyroid nodules

Bumps or lumps within the thyroid gland is known as thyroid nodules. The majority of thyroid nodules are benign however, about 2 or 3/20 of them are cancerous. Sometimes, these nodules produce excessive thyroid hormone, which can result in hyperthyroidism. Nodules that make too much thyroid hormone are generally harmless.

The thyroid nodules can be found at any time, however they typically occur in older people. Less than one in 10 people have thyroid nodules which can be detected by a physician. When the thyroid is examined by ultrasound, a lot more individuals are found to have nodules too small to feel, and they are mostly benign.

The majority of nodules are cysts stuffed with fluid, or the stored version of thyroid hormone known as colloid. Solid nodules contain little colloid or fluid they are also more likely be cancerous. However, the majority of solid nodules aren’t cancerous. Some kinds of solid nodules, including hyperplastic nodules or adenomas contain a lot of cells, but they’re not cancerous cells.

Sometimes, benign thyroid nodules are left to themselves (not addressed) and monitored closely for in the event that they aren’t growing or producing symptoms. Some may require some type of treatment.

Thyroid cancers: Types

The most common types of thyroid cancer include:

  • Differentiated
  • Medullary
  • Anaplastic

Thyroid cancer that is differentiated

The majority of thyroid cancers have a differentiated. The cancerous cells appear like normal thyroid tissue in the laboratory. The cancers originate from thyroid Follicular cells.

Papillary tumor:

About 8 out of 10 thyroid cancers are papillary. They progress very slowly, and often appear in one gland’s lobe. Despite their slow growth papillary cancers can develop into lymph nodes located in the neck. Even when cancers do been able to spread to lymph nodes in the neck, they may be treated effectively and are usually not fatal.

There are a variety of kinds of cancers that originate from papillaries. Of these, there is the subtype of follicular cancer is the most popular. It offers the same favorable prospects (prognosis) like the more common type of papillary cancer, if diagnosed early, and are treated in the same manner. Other types of papillary carcinoma aren’t as prevalent and are more likely to develop and spread faster.

Follicular cancer:

Follicular cancer happens to be the most frequent type, making around 1 of 10 cancers that affect thyroid. It is more prevalent in areas where people don’t receive enough iodine through their diet. The majority of these cancers do not grow into lymph nodes however, they may expand to other parts in the body like the lungs or bone. The prospects (prognosis) for the follicular cancer isn’t the same as for papillary cancer. However, it’s still extremely good in the majority of cases.


About 3 percent of thyroid cancers are of this kind. It’s harder to detect and treat.

Thyroid carcinoma of the Medullary

Medullary thyroid cancer is responsible for approximately 4 percent in thyroid cancer. It originates from C cells in the thyroid gland. These cells produce calcitonin which is which is a hormone that regulates the level of calcium present in blood. Sometimes, this cancer may be spread to lymph nodes, the lungs, or even the liver even before the thyroid nodule is identified.

The type of cancer in the thyroid is harder to detect and treat. There are two kinds of MTC:

The sporadic nature of MTC:

The sporadic nature of MTC is responsible for 8 of 10 cases of MTC It is not an inheritance. It is most common in older people and usually is only affecting the thyroid’s lobe.

Family-related MTC:

Family-related MTC is an inheritance disease and can range from 20% to 25% of cases can be found in every generation of the family. The majority of these cancers develop in young adulthood or even before and can develop early. The majority of patients have cancer throughout both lobes. The MTC of the family is usually associated with a higher chance of developing other types of cancers. This is explained in greater depth within Thyroid cancer risk Factors.

Anaplastic (undifferentiated) thyroid cancer

Anaplastic carcinoma is an uncommon form of thyroid cancer. It makes around 2 percent of all thyroid cancers. It is believed that it can originate from an existing papillary or follicular tumor. The cancer is often rapidly spread to the neck as well as other organs and is difficult to cure.

Less frequent thyroid cancers

About 4percent of the cancers that are found in the thyroid gland are thyroid tumors, thyroid sarcomas or other uncommon thyroid cancers.

Parathyroid cancer

The parathyroids are tiny glands located behind they are connected to that gland of the thyroid gland. The parathyroid glands regulate the levels of calcium in your body. Parathyroid cancers are rare. There are probably less than 100 cases per annually in the United States.

Parathyroid cancers can be found due to elevated blood calcium levels. The result is that a person becomes exhausted, weak and sleepy. This can cause you to go to the bathroom often and cause dehydration. This could make fatigue and drowsiness more severe. Other signs include fractures and pain in the bones and pain due to kidney stones, depression and constipation.

Larger parathyroid tumors can also be discovered as a tumor in the area of the thyroid. Whatever the size of the nodule the only option is surgical removal. Parathyroid cancer is more difficult to treat than thyroid cancer.