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What is thryoid cancer? The thyroid gland is low and toward the front of the neck. It is has two lobes that sit side-by-side. The thyroid gland is comprised to two primary classes of cells.
Follicular cells convert iodine that circulates naturally in the blood to produce thyroid hormone. The amount of thyroid hormone that is released is regulated by the pituitary gland that sits at the base of the brain.
C cells produce calcitronin, a hormone that regulates how the body uses calcium.
Other less common cells in the thyroid include lymphocytes which are part of the immune system and stromal cells which are part of connective tissue.
Cancer may develop from each type of cell. The differences affect prognosis and treatment.
Not all growths in the thyroid are cancerous, so a biopsy is usually performed to determine the diagnosis of tissue that appears suspicious appearing on imaging.
Lumps or bumps in thyroid are called thyroid nodules. Most are noncancerous. People can develop nodules at any age, but they are more common in older adults. Benign thyroid nodules often can go without treatment. Others require some form of intervention.
How does thyroid cancer develop? In general, cancer develops after the genetic material in cells changes abnormally and the cells begin growing out of control. When there are enough of these abnormal cells, they can form a tumor that may be seen on an ultrasound or felt as a lump during a clinical exam.
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