The Types of Thyroid Cancer Explained
The four main types of thyroid cancer
are: papillary, follicular, medullary and anaplastic. Overall, if you
have been diagnosed it’s good to know the recovery prognosis is pretty
positive. Depending upon the type; whether or not it has spread to other body parts; your age and general health will determine your road to recovery.
Thyroid cancer is a broad-spectrum term for malignant cells discovered
in the thyroid gland. This is a butterfly-shaped gland positioned
in the neck, beneath the Adam’s apple.
Papillary – Most Common
Nobody wants to entertain the idea of thyroid cancer, but if you have
received a diagnosis, the probability factor is high that it will be
Approximately 86 out of 100 people with thyroid cancer have the papillary
type. It begins in follicular cells that produce iodine. Papillary is slow-growing so an early diagnosis, followed with correct
treatment is a good indicator that most people can be cured.
Women are three times more at risk to contract this type than men. Risks include: too much dietary iodine, genetic factors
and/or radiation exposure.
Follicular – 2nd Most Common
Follicular Thyroid Cancer generally strikes the elderly population.
Accounting for about 15% of all types of thyroid cancer cases, it is quite
aggressive. As a rule this type can spread through the bloodstream to attack other body parts.
This is more common in countries where the diet
is low in iodine. Also, the risk factor is increased in regions where
the diet is low in iodine and the people are exposed to radioactivity.
Medullary – 3rd Most Common
The Medullary Thyroid Cancer type starts in the parafollicular or C cells,
which produce the hormone, calcitonin.
It is further distinguished by whether medullary is sporadic
Familial medullary thyroid cancer is generally genetic. According to doctors if you have this disease there is a 50% chance that your biological children may develop it as well. Because of this genetic disposition many doctors recommend family members be tested for the “MEN2A” gene which stands for Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia.
Because these tumors are slow-growing, early diagnosis is imperative
for a good recovery prognosis. Otherwise medullary cancer can invade
other body parts.
Anaplastic – 4th Type – Least Common
Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer cells are the fastest growing and they swiftly spread to other parts of the body.
Anaplastic is also the least common of the main types of thyroid cancer,
in that approximately 1 out of every 100 people develops this type. This disease is more predominant in
people above 60 years of age.
Little Known Types
There are two exceedingly rare types that get little press. Thyroid sarcoma is cancer of the thyroid
supporting cells. Lymphatic system cancer is called Thyroid Lymphoma.This is a very aggressive and difficult to treat.
Thyroid lymphoma a.k.a. non-Hodgkin lymphoma is responsible for a
scant 2% of cases. These malignant cells originate from
lymphocytes, the primary type of immune system cell.