Types of thyroid cancer include:
- Papillary thyroid cancer. The most common form of thyroid cancer, papillary cancer arises from follicular cells. People between 30 and 50 years old are most at risk. Papillary tumors tend to grow slowly and tend to spread to lymph nodes in the neck.
- Follicular thyroid cancer. Follicular cancer also arises from the follicle cells of the thyroid. It usually affects people older than age 50. If follicular cancer spreads, it typically involves the lungs. Hurthle cell cancer is a rare and potentially more aggressive type of follicular cancer.
- Medullary thyroid cancer. Medullary thyroid cancer produces too much calcitonin, a hormone that can be detected in the blood at a very early stage. This often results in early diagnosis when the cancer is easier to treat. Certain genetic syndromes increase the risk of familial medullary thyroid cancer, although this genetic link is uncommon.
- Anaplastic thyroid cancer. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a rare and rapidly growing cancer. It is typically very hard to treat, but there are treatment options.
- Thyroid lymphoma. Thyroid lymphoma is a rare form of thyroid cancer that occurs most often in older adults. It begins in the immune system cells in the thyroid. It may grow very quickly.