mobile header

Understanding Thyroid Cancer: Types and Treatment Advances

Thyroid cancer is a rare type of cancer that affects the thyroid gland, located in the neck region. It starts as a small lump in the thyroid gland, and often goes unnoticed. As it grows, it can cause difficulty in swallowing, breathing, and even speaking. Thankfully, thyroid cancer has a high survival rate when detected early.


There are four main types of thyroid cancer - papillary, follicular, medullary and anaplastic. The most common of these is papillary carcinoma, which makes up 75-85% of thyroid cancer cases. Follicular carcinoma accounts for 10-15% of cases, while medullary and anaplastic carcinomas together make up only 5-10% of cases. Understanding the type of thyroid cancer is important, as it determines the course of treatment.

Once the type of thyroid cancer is identified, the doctor may recommend surgery, radiation therapy, or a combination of both. The type and extent of treatment will depend on the stage and type of cancer. If the cancer is small, the doctor may recommend a partial thyroidectomy to remove the cancerous cells. For larger tumours, a total thyroidectomy would be required. Radiation therapy may also be recommended as a supplementary treatment option, to ensure that any residual cancer cells are eliminated.

In recent times, advances in thyroid cancer treatment have been made, offering patients better outcomes and quality of life. One such advancement is targeted therapy, which uses medications that target specific molecules or pathways to impede the growth of cancer cells. Targeted therapies are generally less toxic than other therapies, and can be used in cases where other treatments may not be effective. Another technological advance is Robotic-assisted surgery, which minimizes surgical invasiveness by increasing the accuracy of surgical instruments. This type of surgery can minimize the incision size and reduce recovery time.

Another exciting area of research is immunotherapy, which harnesses the body's immune system to fight cancer cells. The immune system is trained to recognize cancer cells as foreign bodies and destroy them. Immunotherapy has shown great promise in treating advanced thyroid cancer, where other treatment options may not work. It is a relatively new form of treatment, and more research is needed to determine its effectiveness.


Thyroid cancer is a rare type of cancer, but it can be treated effectively when detected early and treated properly. Understanding the type of thyroid cancer is crucial to determine the appropriate course of treatment. With advancements in technology and research, new treatments are being developed that offer patients better outcomes and quality of life. At the American Oncology Institute, we have an expert team of Oncologists who provide personalized care and treatment plans for each patient. With early detection and appropriate treatment, we can work together to help our patients overcome thyroid cancer and lead a healthy life.