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The more common types of thyroid cancer are named for where they start in the cells. The major types are:
Differentiated thyroid cancer
Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common type of thyroid cancer, making up about 85 percent of all thyroid cancers and is found in the broadest spectrum of age groups from children to elderly adults.
Follicular accounts for about 10 percent of thyroid cancers. It can spread to nearby lymph nodes, as well as distant areas of the body.
Hurthle cell thyroid cancer
This cancer is a subtype of follicular thyroid cancer. These cancers make up about 3% of all thyroid cancers. They are more difficult to diagnose and treat.
Medullary thyroid cancer
This form of thyroid cancer is more likely to run in families.
It is more rare and more aggressive than the more common well-differentiated thyroid cancers.
This form of thyroid cancer is also rare and the most aggressive of all thyroid cancers and one of the most aggressive of all cancers.
Other factors in diagnosis and treatment planning There are additional considerations beyond type and subtype that affect recommendations your care team may make for treatment.
Tumor size offers clues about how quickly the tumor may have developed and how likely it is to spread beyond the thyroid gland. Larger cancers are more likely to progress to the lymph nodes.
Grade describes how abnormal the cancer cells appear under the microscope.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.