Thyroid Cancer

A woman undergoing a thyroid test

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the front of the neck. It produces thyroid hormone, which controls your metabolism, temperature regulation, and keeps your muscles and organs working properly.

Thyroid cancer is very common, particularly in women. It is now one of the most common cancers found in women. Most forms of thyroid cancer are slow growing and well-treated with surgery and sometimes other therapies.

Thyroid cancers are often found within nodules that are either felt by the patient or their doctor. These nodules are also frequently found incidentally, for example, when the patient has an imaging test not related to the thyroid.

What Are the Symptoms?

Many patients with thyroid cancer do not report any symptoms, though the following symptoms may be present:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Voice changes
  • A lump in the neck

What Are the Types of Thyroid Cancer?

There are several types of thyroid cancer including:

Papillary—This is the most common form. This type of cancer, which tends to grow slowly, has a good prognosis. It often spreads to neck lymph nodes.

Follicular—This type of thyroid cancer also typically has a good overall prognosis except when significant invasion of other tissues is present.

Medullary—This form of thyroid cancer develops from cells in the thyroid gland that are different from papillary and follicular thyroid cancers. While the prognosis with medullary cancer is not as favorable when compared with those types of thyroid cancers, it is also much less common (between five- and 10-percent of all thyroid cancers). While medullary thyroid carcinoma can be associated with several inherited syndromes, more often it occurs in patients without any family history.

Anaplastic—This is the least common type of thyroid cancer, but it is very aggressive, and the prognosis is poor. It presents as a rapidly enlarging neck mass.

Call Rocky Top ENT & Allergy at 931-219-9990 or 865-383-0737 for more information and to schedule an appointment.