Learn About Thyroid Cancer
What is Thyroid Cancer?The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the lower portion of the neck. It produces hormones that help control your body's metabolism and organ function. Thyroid nodules occur when thyroid tissue grows excessively. These nodules can be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). Thyroid cancer is found in just 5% of all thyroid nodules.
There are five main types of thyroid cancer:
- Papillary and follicular carcinomas, which combined make up almost 80-90% of all thyroid cancers
- Hurthle cell carcinoma (a variant of follicular carcinoma)
- Medullary thyroid carcinoma
- Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma
In general, the most common types of thyroid cancer are very treatable and have excellent long-term prognoses. It is very rare to die from thyroid cancer. Rates of thyroid cancer have increased over the past several years and U-M physicians serve on committees that develop national guidelines for care.