Health Advice



Consumer Health: Treating thyroid cancer

Laurel Kelly, Mayo Clinic News Network on

Published in Health & Fitness

Nearly 44,000 new cases of thyroid cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year, and more than 2,000 people will die of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.

Thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck. Your thyroid produces hormones that regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight.

There may be no signs or symptoms early in the disease. As thyroid cancer grows, it may cause swelling in your neck, voice changes, difficulty swallowing, and pain in your neck and throat.

Risk factors

Factors that may increase the risk of thyroid cancer include:

•Being female.Thyroid cancer occurs more often in women than men. Experts think it may be related to the hormone estrogen. People who are assigned female sex at birth generally have higher levels of estrogen in their bodies.


•Exposure to high levels of radiation.Radiation therapy treatments to the head and neck increase the risk of thyroid cancer.

•Certain inherited genetic syndromes.Genetic syndromes that increase the risk of thyroid cancer include familial medullary thyroid cancer, multiple endocrine neoplasia, Cowden syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis. Types of thyroid cancer that sometimes run in families include medullary thyroid cancer and papillary thyroid cancer.

Treatment for thyroid cancer

Treatment can cure most thyroid cancers. Your treatment options will depend on the type and stage of your thyroid cancer, your overall health, and your preferences.


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