thyroid adenocarcinomas

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Thyroid carcinoma is rare, having an annual incidence of about 3-5 per 100,000.

  • thyroid cancer accounts for about 0.4% of all cancer deaths.
  • women are affected more commonly than men in a ratio of 2-3:1
    • most likely to develop in women of reproductive age
  • usually presents as a solitary nodule in a patient with normal thyroid hormone levels; cancer is found in about 10% of such cases
    • other symptoms are uncommon, but include cervical lymphadenopathy, hoarseness, difficulty in breathing or swallowing, and discomfort in the neck
  • different types of thyroid cancer:
    • commonest type of thyroid cancer is described as “differentiated”; this accounts for 90% of cases
      • sub-divided into two forms: papillary and follicular adenocarcinoma, which account for 80% and 10% of cases, respectively
      • both develop in cells that produce thyroid hormones, but papillary cancer tends to grow slowly and is usually curable
      • differentiated thyroid cancers are usually treated with surgery, which can be supplemented with radioiodine ablation. Survival rates are excellent
    • five per cent of patients have medullary cancer, which is sometimes familial and can be associated with other endocrine malignancies
      • treatment is with surgery, but this disease is more difficult to control because it tends to be more invasive and cannot be treated with radioiodine
    • there are two rare types which occur in the elderly
      • about 1% of patients have lymphoma of the thyroid, which presents as a rapidly expanding mass and is usually diagnosed on the basis of the patient’s history, together with a tissue diagnosis
        • many of these patients can be cured
      • 3% of patients who have anaplastic thyroid cancer, which presents in a similar way and must be differentiated from lymphoma with a biopsy
        • prognosis is poor

  • around 3,400 new thyroid cancer cases in the UK every year, that's more than 9 every day (2013-2015)

  • thyroid cancer is the 20th most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 1% of all new cancer cases (2015)

  • in males in the UK, thyroid cancer is the 20th most common cancer, with around 960 new cases in 2015
  • in females in the UK, thyroid cancer is the 17th most common cancer, with around 2,600 new cases in 2015

  • incidence rates for thyroid cancer in the UK are highest in people aged 80 to 84 (2013-2015)

  • since the early 1990s, thyroid cancer incidence rates have increased by around two-and-a-half times (148%) in the UK
    • rates in males have increased by around two-and-a-half times (147%), and rates in females have increased by around two-and-a-half times (155%)
    • over the last decade, thyroid cancer incidence rates have increased by four-fifths (80%) in the UK
      • rates in males have increased by four-fifths (80%), and rates in females have increased by more than four-fifths (82%)
  • thyroid cancer in England is not associated with deprivation

Reference:

  1. NICE (November 2004). Improving outcomes in head and neck cancers - The Manual
  2. CRUK. Thyroid Cancer Statistics (Accessed 29/5/19)

Last edited 05/2019

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