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What is Thyroid Cancer?

A woman’s neck

Thyroid cancer is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the thyroid gland. It is the most common form of endocrine cancers. The thyroid gland is at the base of the throat. It has two lobes, one on the right side and one on the left. The thyroid gland makes important hormones that help the body function normally. Thyroid cancer is one of the fastest increasing cancers in both men and women.

There are four main types of thyroid cancer (based on how the cancer cells look under a microscope):

Some types of thyroid cancer grow faster than others. The chance of recovery (prognosis) depends on the type of thyroid cancer, whether it is in the thyroid only or has spread to other parts of the body (stage), and the patient's age and overall health. The prognosis is better for patients younger than 45 years and those who have cancer that has not spread beyond the thyroid.

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