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Thyroid Cancer

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Thyroid Cancer is not the name you expected.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • thyroid lymphoma
  • papillary thyroid carcinoma
  • medullary thyroid carcinoma
  • Hurthle cell carcinoma
  • anaplastic thyroid carcinoma follicular thyroid carcinoma

General Discussion

Thyroid cancer (carcinoma) is cancer affecting the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped structure located at the base of the neck. The thyroid is part of the endocrine system, the network of glands that secrete hormones that regulate the chemical processes (metabolism) that influence the body's activities as well as regulating the heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure. Hormones are secreted directly into the bloodstream where they travel to various areas of the body.

In many cases, there are no symptoms (asymptomatic) associated with thyroid cancer. Pain in the neck, hoarseness and swollen lymph nodes especially in the neck may be present in some cases. Although thyroid cancer is relatively uncommon, it is the most common form of cancer affecting the endocrine system. Most forms rarely cause pain or disability and are easily treated with surgery and follow-up therapy. However, some forms are aggressive and more difficult to treat.

The term "cancer" refers to a group of diseases characterized by abnormal, uncontrolled cellular growth that invades surrounding tissues and may spread (metastasize) to distant bodily tissues or organs via the bloodstream, the lymphatic system, or other means. Different forms of cancer, including thyroid cancer, may be classified based upon the cell type involved, the specific nature of the malignancy, and the disease's clinical course. The four main types of thyroid cancer are papillary, follicular, medullary and anaplastic. Rare forms of thyroid cancer include thyroid teratoma, lymphoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.
Malignant cells pass their abnormal changes on to all their "daughter" cells and typically grow and divide at an unusually rapid, uncontrolled rate that cannot be contained by the body's natural immune defenses. Eventually, such proliferation of abnormal cells may result in formation of a mass known as a tumor (neoplasm). Disease progression may be characterized by invasion of surrounding tissues, infiltration of regional lymph nodes, and spread of the malignancy via the bloodstream, the lymphatic circulation, or other means to other bodily tissues and organs.

Resources

American Cancer Society, Inc.
250 Williams NW St
Ste 6000
Atlanta, GA 30303
USA
Tel: (404)320-3333
Tel: (800)227-2345
TDD: (866)228-4327
Internet: http://www.cancer.org

National Cancer Institute
6116 Executive Blvd Suite 300
Bethesda, MD 20892-8322
USA
Tel: (301)435-3848
Tel: (800)422-6237
TDD: (800)332-8615
Email: cancergovstaff@mail.nih.gov
Internet: http://www.cancer.gov

American Thyroid Association
6066 Leesburg Pike, Suite 550
Falls Church, VA 22041
USA
Tel: (703)998-8890
Fax: (703)998-8893
Email: thyroid@thyroid.org
Internet: http://www.thyroid.org

Rare Cancer Alliance
1649 North Pacana Way
Green Valley, AZ 85614
USA
Internet: http://www.rare-cancer.org

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223
Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association, Inc.
PO Box 1545
New York, NY 10159-1545
Fax: (630)604-6078
Tel: (877)588-7904
Email: thyca@thyca.org
Internet: http://www.thyca.org

Friends of Cancer Research
1800 M Street NW
Suite 1050 South
Washington, DC 22202
Tel: (202)944-6700
Email: info@focr.org
Internet: http://www.focr.org

Cancer.Net
American Society of Clinical Oncology
2318 Mill Road Suite 800
Alexandria, VA 22314
Tel: (571)483-1780
Fax: (571)366-9537
Tel: (888)651-3038
Email: contactus@cancer.net
Internet: http://www.cancer.net/

Cancer Support Community
1050 17th St NW Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202)659-9709
Fax: (202)974-7999
Tel: (888)793-9355
Internet: http://www.cancersupportcommunity.org/

Lance Armstrong Foundation
2201 E. Sixth Street
Austin, TX 78702
Tel: (512)236-8820
Fax: (512)236-8482
Tel: (877)236-8820
Email: media@livestrong.org
Internet: http://www.livestrong.org

Hageman Foundation
1027 Hampshire Drive
Maryville, TN 37801
Tel: (865)238-5842
Fax: (865)238-5844
Tel: (866)612-8579
Email: Info@HagemanFoundation.org
Internet: http://www.HagemanFoundation.org

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

Last Updated:  1/25/2013
Copyright  2006, 2013 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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