What are the types of thyroid cancer?

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The most common type of thyroid cancer is called differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). There are two main types of DTC:

  • Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common type of thyroid cancer accounting for about 4 out of 5 thyroid cancers diagnoses. It is more common in women aged 35 to 45. It is slow growing and has a high cure rate.
  • Follicular thyroid cancer accounts for about 1 in 5 thyroid cancer diagnoses. It grows slowly and is usually found in older people.

Rarer types of thyroid cancer

  • Medullary thyroid cancer is a rare type of thyroid cancer. There are two categories of medullary thyroid cancer: sporadic and hereditary. Sporadic accounts for the majority of medullary thyroid cancers. The inherited form has a genetic mutation that is carried in families.

    If you have this type of cancer your family members are more at risk of getting it too, so talk to your GP about genetic testing and ways to spot cancer early. Read more about cancer and genetics.

  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer is also a rare cancer. Most people who get this cancer are older. It grows quickly and can be difficult to treat.

Papillary and follicular cancers have a lot of features in common so they are collectively known as differentiated thyroid cancers (DTCs).

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