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Thyroid cancer

Cancer forms occurring in the thyroid gland differ biologically, which lead to differences in disease courses and prognoses after treatment.

About 90% of the cases originate from malignant tumors from the epithelial cells of the thyroid follicles. Most of the cases are papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC).  

The incidence of palpable nodules is about 5% of the adult population, but with ultrasound, nodules are found in up to 70%. Only a small amount of these are malignant.

Increasing use of image diagnostics for other indications will detect tumors in the thyroid gland as a secondary finding.

Cancer types of the thyroid gland

  • Differentiated follicle epithelial-derived
  • Papillary thyroid carcinoma  (PTC)
  • Follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC)
  • Undifferentiated anaplastic thyroid carcinoma and moderately differentiated thyroid carcinoma
  • Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC)
  • Other

Incidence

In Norway, in 2013 there were diagnosed 349 new cases of thyroid cancer. The disease affects more women than men. Half of thyroid cancer cases are in people under 50 years. Patients with FTC have a somewhat higher average age than patients with PTC. Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma occurs mainly in older patients with fast growing tumors.

 

Age-specific incidence of thyroid cancer, 2009–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway

 

 

Incidence of thyroid cancer, 1954–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway

 

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