Thyroid Cancer Facts

Thyroid cancer is a malignant growth in the thyroid gland. Cancer of the thyroid occurs more often in people who have undergone radiation to the head, neck, or chest. Learn more about thyroid cancer ›

Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

Swelling is usually a sign of excess fluid buildup or inflammation in the body. Swelling can make you look bloated or distended, and your skin may appear shiny and stretched out. Swelling may be widespread or localized to a particular area of the body, such as the lymph nodes, hands, ankles, tongue or face.

Swelling, or edema, can occur anywhere within the body, including the internal organs, but it is most noticeable on the face, neck, hands, legs, ankles and feet. Edema is classified according to the body part that is affected, such as pulmonary edema (of the lungs), facial edema, and lymphedema (of the lymph nodes).

Learn more about the symptoms of thyroid cancer

Treatment for Thyroid Cancer

If you have thyroid cancer, you probably have many questions and concerns about your treatment options. It's normal to want to learn all you can.

Your doctor will base your treatment plan on the type of thyroid cancer you have. The majority of thyroid cancers are slow to grow and to metastasize, but there are thyroid cancer types that can be very aggressive, and they will be treated differently. Your doctor will also consider your age, your health, the size and location of the tumor, and other factors.

Your treatments may be local or systemic, or both. Local treatment removes, destroys, or controls cancer cells in one area. For thyroid cancer, the most common local treatment is surgery. Systemic treatment destroys or controls cancer cells throughout the entire body. For thyroid cancer, radioactive iodine therapy and chemotherapy are the main types of systemic treatments.

Learn more about treatment for thyroid cancer

Living with Thyroid Cancer

Researchers have found a few risk factors that make you more likely to develop thyroid cancer. You are at higher risk if you agree with any of the following bolded statements.

I am between ages 25 and 65.

Thyroid cancer can occur at any age, but people in this age group are at a slightly increased risk. Most people with thyroid cancer are more than 45 years old.

I am a woman.

If you are female, you have three times the risk of developing thyroid cancer compared with males.

I have a family history of thyroid cancer.

If thyroid cancer runs in your family, you are at an increased risk of developing it yourself.

Learn more about living with thyroid cancer

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