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This is seen most frequently in individuals over 60 years of age with an equal incidence in both sexes. It is an aggressive tumour which may arise from dedifferentiation of a papillary or follicular thyroid cancer. It accounts for about 3% of thyroid carcinomas.
Local invasion occurs to the trachea and to the oesophagous and the patient may present with dyspnoea or dysphagia respectively. Almost 80% of patients have a history of long-standing goitre.
Prognosis is poor.