Cancer happens when cells in the body begin changing and multiplying out of control. These cells can form lumps of tissue called tumors. Cancer that forms in the thyroid is called thyroid cancer.
Understanding the Thyroid
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in front of the neck, just below the Adam's apple. The thyroid controls the rate at which every part of the body works. This is called metabolism. The thyroid gland regulates the metabolism by making thyroid hormone, a chemical that carries messages from the thyroid to the rest of the body through the bloodstream. The thyroid also makes the hormone called calcitonin. This regulates how calcium is used in the body.
When Thyroid Cancer Forms
Cells in the thyroid may grow out of control, forming small lumps called nodules. The thyroid may also enlarge (swell). Thyroid cancer can spread from the thyroid to other parts of the body. This spread is called metastasis. In general, the more cancer spreads, the harder it is to treat.
There are four main types of thyroid cancer (also called thyroid carcinoma):
Treatment Choices for Thyroid Cancer
There are different types of thyroid cancer. You and your healthcare provider will discuss a treatment plan that is specific to your type of cancer and your personal needs. Treatment choices may include: