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Anaplastic carcinoma of the thyroid

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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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.


  1. NICE (November 2004). Improving outcomes in head and neck cancers - The Manual

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