Thyroid Carcinomas

Various types of thyroid carcinomas affect patients.

dr. larian thyroid surgery

Type of Cancer Incidence
Papillary 65-70%
Follicular 15-20%
Medullary 5-10%
Anaplastic 1-2%


Papillary and Follicular Thyroid Carcinomas

Papillary and follicular thyroid carcinomas are categorized as well-differentiated thyroid cancer and account for 80–90% of all thyroid cancers, with papillary being the most predominant. These types of thyroid cancer tend to be slow growing and when diagnosed early (a majority of cases) have a high cure rate. More aggressive variants of well-differentiated thyroid cancer include tall cell, schirrous, insular, Hurthle cell, etc. Their treatment and management are similar, despite the fact that they tend to be more aggressive. The risk group categories are described in the table and help us determine how aggressively the tumor needs to be treated and if radioactive iodine or other adjunctive measures need to be taken.

Risk Factors
Low Intermediate Intermediate High
Age <45 <45 >45 >45
Distant Metastases None Yes None Yes
Tumor Size <4cm >4cm <4cm >4cm
Histology Papillary Follicular or High Grade Papillary Follicular or High Grade
5 Year Survival Rate (%) 100 96 96 72
20 Year Survival Rate (%) 99 85 85 57


Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma

Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) is a relatively uncommon form of thyroid cancer. When diagnosed early (before it has spread), the cure rates can be high. Once diagnosed the patient must undergo the necessary testing ASAP so that you may begin treatment (surgery) right away. MTC can run in families in 20% of cases. So genetic testing (of the RET proto-oncogene) should be done on all patients with MTC to check to see whether they have the familial form, in which case their family members must also be checked to see if they carry the gene. The familial forms of MTC are often times associated with other types of tumors (MEN 2A & 2B) and hormonal problems that need to be accurately diagnosed before treatment is started.

MEN Syndromes
MEN 2A MTC Pheochromocytoma Hyperparathyroidism
MEN 2B MTC Pheochromocytoma Mucosal Neuromas Marfanoid Habitus


Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma

Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma is, fortunately, the least common type of thyroid cancer. This is a very aggressive cancer that rapidly grows and spreads. In most cases the tumor has already spread and is involving the adjacent organs making it very difficult to control and treat.

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To learn more about thyroid carcinomas, contact our Beverly Hills practice, serving Los Angeles and all of Southern California. Call 310.461.0300!

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