If you’ve been diagnosed with thyroid cancer or told you’re at high risk for it, you’re probably facing many decisions — choices that can be overwhelming and hard. At Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, we too are constantly thinking of those questions — and how we can be the answer to all of them. Our experts know that personalized treatment is key to giving you the best outcome and quality of life possible.
About Thyroid Cancer
The thyroid is a small gland located below the voice box in the front of the neck. It is made up of two lobes and is shaped like a butterfly. As part of your endocrine system, this gland makes hormones that affect your heart rate, temperature, mental function, and metabolism.
If cells in the thyroid gland grow uncontrollably, they form a nodule (tumor). Most (90 percent) of thyroid nodules are benign (noncancerous). But 1 out of 10 are malignant (cancerous).
Approximately 62,500 people are diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the United States each year. The disease usually affects people between the ages of 20 and 55. Women are nearly three times more likely than men to develop thyroid cancer.
The disease can be hard to catch at first because many thyroid tumors don’t cause symptoms.
How We Care for You
Over the past decade, Memorial Sloan Kettering experts have treated more than 6,000 people with thyroid cancer.
- Our doctors use sophisticated tools to diagnose thyroid cancer. We’ve been leaders in figuring out that there are in fact several types of thyroid cancer — each with a different way of developing and responding to treatment.
- Not just one doctor but a team of experts from different areas care for each patient.
- We use the latest in precision medicine to tailor your care to the type of thyroid disease you have. Treatment options include active surveillance, surgery, and radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy.
- If your cancer is advanced, or has come back after being treated (called recurrent thyroid cancer), we’ll work with you to determine the best treatment approach.
- Many patients participate in our large program of clinical trials. These studies test a range of treatments for people with low-risk thyroid cancer as well as advanced disease that has stopped responding to standard treatments.
- Most of our patients get better and enjoy a high quality of life. This is thanks in part to our world-class thyroid cancer Survivorship Program, which serves as a model for care at other cancer centers around the world.