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One of the functions of the thyroid gland is to make thyroid hormone, which requires iodine. Papillary carcinoma (papillary adenocarcinoma) — This is the most common type of thyroid cancer, accounting for 75 percent of thyroid cancers. Follicular carcinoma — The second-most-common type of thyroid cancer, follicular carcinoma starts in follicular cells. Hurthle cell neoplasm (follicular adenocarcinoma) — This poorly understood cancer seems similar to follicular carcinoma. Anaplastic carcinoma (undifferentiated thyroid cancer) — This is the rarest form of thyroid cancer, and it has the worst prognosis.
Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) — This is the only type of thyroid cancer that develops from the C-cells. Rarely, tumors arising from connective tissue (sarcomas) and lymph nodes (lymphomas) can start in the thyroid gland. Although scientists have not identified the exact cause of thyroid cancer, some studies have shown that people exposed to nuclear fallout or nuclear power plant accidents have a higher risk of developing thyroid cancer. Individuals who have received radiation therapy to the chest (to treat Hodgkin's disease, for example) have an increased incidence of thyroid abnormalities, including cancer.
Some forms of thyroid cancer may be caused by genetic changes (mutations) that occur after birth. Often, a patient has no symptoms; the disease is diagnosed based on a test performed for another reason.
Your doctor will examine you, feeling your neck to evaluate the size and firmness of the thyroid and to check for lumps and enlarged lymph nodes.
Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) of a thyroid nodule — If your doctor finds a thyroid nodule in your neck, he or she can determine if it is cancerous by doing an FNA. Thyroid scan — For this test, you swallow a small amount of a radioactive substance or have it injected into a vein. Computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — CT uses a modified x-ray beam to make cross-sectional images of the thyroid gland and nearby structures. However, genetic blood tests can be used to identify people who have a high risk of developing the familial types of MTC. The treatment of thyroid cancer also is determined by the type of cells that make up the cancer. Thyroid hormone therapy — If your entire thyroid gland is removed, taking thyroid hormone medication will help restore your normal metabolism. Radioactive iodine treatment — Radioactive iodine can be used after thyroid surgery to destroy any remaining normal thyroid tissue.

Chemotherapy — In this treatment, anticancer drugs are taken by mouth or injected into a vein.
External beam radiation therapy — In this treatment, high-energy beams of radiation are directed at the cancer to kill cancer cells. Recently, several new agents have shown success in treating medullary thyroid carcinoma that was not cured with surgery. A serum thyroglobulin blood test is done routinely after treatment to determine if any active thyroid tissues, including cancerous thyroid cells, are still present.
Your treatment plan will depend on the type of thyroid cancer you have and how far it has spread.
Disclaimer: This content should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a call or visit to a health professional. The easiest way to lookup drug information, identify pills, check interactions and set up your own personal medication records.
Please note that we are unable to respond back directly to your questions or provide medical advice. As the fastest growing consumer health information site a€” with 65 million monthly visitors a€” Healthlinea€™s mission is to be your most trusted ally in your pursuit of health and well-being. An overactive thyroid can lead to hyperactivity, the "jitters," and an irregular heart rhythm; an underactive thyroid, fatigue and sluggishness.
It often affects just the thyroid gland, but it can spread to other parts of the body, especially the lungs and bone. It can spread to the lymph nodes, the lungs, and the liver before an abnormal lump in the thyroid has even been detected.
These occur alone (inherited MTC) or as part of a familial cancer syndrome known as multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) type 2. During this procedure, he or she injects a local anesthetic to numb the skin over the nodule. MRI also creates cross-sectional, computer-generated images of the thyroid gland and nearby structures, but it uses large magnets and radio waves, not x-rays. Because the neck is imaged as part of an abdominal scan, thyroid cancer may be detected even though the test was done for another reason. Your surgeon will remove all of the cancer, as well as all or part of the remaining thyroid and nearby lymph nodes. It also helps suppress a hormone from the pituitary gland that can speed the growth of any remaining cancer cells.
It can also be used to kill any remaining cancer cells or to treat cancer that has returned.

The outlook depends on your age, the type of cancer, the tumor's characteristics, whether the cancer has spread, and whether it was completely removed. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Both of which will support, guide, and inspire you toward the best possible health outcomes for you and your family. In most cases, the cancer only affects one of the thyroid gland's two lobes, but it can affect both. MTC produces the hormone calcitonin, as well as a protein called carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). Because the thyroid has an attraction for iodine, the thyroid tissue accumulates this radioactive substance.
Patients with MEN-2 develop tumors in other parts of the body, such as the adrenal gland and peripheral nervous system. A special camera positioned next to your neck measures the amount of radioactive chemicals in the thyroid. Those who test positive but have no symptoms of thyroid cancer may decide to have their thyroid removed to prevent the disease.
When used to destroy normal tissue, you can be treated as an outpatient with relatively low levels of radiation. Chemotherapy is used to treat more aggressive thyroid cancers, as well as those that are advanced. The prognosis for MTC depends on whether the cancer occurs with no known cause, is inherited alone, or is inherited as part of a cancer syndrome (MEN-2). Because the thyroid is so close to the wind pipe (trachea), patients with this type of cancer may experience sudden shortness of breath. These scans can help doctors to determine whether a nodule in the gland is actively producing thyroid hormone. To kill cancer cells, doctors use much larger doses; treatment often takes place in a hospital.
There are two main types of MTC: Sporadic MTC (80 percent of all MTC cases) is not inherited. If you have thyroid cancer, this test may determine whether it has spread to other parts of your body, especially after the thyroid gland has been removed surgically.

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