What is the thyroid?
The gland secretes thyroid hormones, which influence the metabolic rate and protein synthesis, but also affect development. The thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) are created from iodine and tyrosine. The thyroid also produces the hormone calcitonin, which plays a role in calcium balance.
What is thyroid cancer?
Diagnosis is often based on ultrasound and fine needle aspiration. Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy including radioactive iodine, chemotherapy, thyroid hormone, targeted therapy, and watchful waiting. Surgery may involve removing part or all of the thyroid.
Who might experience it?
Thyroid cancer accounts for less than 1% of cancer cases and deaths in the UK. Around 2,700 people were diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the UK in 2011, and around 370 people died from the disease in 2012.
Risk factors include:
- Radiation exposure (natural and environmental)
- Enlarged thyroid
- Family history
- Age (35 – 65 years old)
- More common in women
- More common in people of Asian descent
- Thyroiditis and other thyroid diseases predispose
- Genetic factors e.g. multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2
Adapted from Wikipedia.
For more information please visit the CRUK website.