How Dangerous is Thyroid Cancer | UCLA Endocrine Center

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Most people have a type of thyroid cancer that’s slow growing, treatable and curable, says endocrine surgeon Avital Harari, MD. Prognosis depends on the type of thyroid cancer, how far it has spread and your age. Younger age is better — with most thyroid cancers, you can’t present with an advanced stage if you’re under 55 years old.

To determine how dangerous the thyroid cancer is, you need to know whether it has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes. A neck ultrasound can identify any spreading, and treatment is often successful even when cancers have spread to the lymph nodes.

For the best thyroid cancer outcomes, your health care team should treat the thyroid and any lymph nodes involved. This usually includes having surgery to remove half or all the thyroid gland.

A small number of thyroid cancers are more aggressive than others — they may spread faster and have worse outcomes. There are treatments available at UCLA Health for later staged, more aggressive types.

No matter the type or stage of thyroid cancer, treatment is crucial. Follow-up after treatment for all patients with thyroid cancer is important since it can come back. If you have questions about your unique cancer, talk to your surgeon and endocrinologist.

Learn more about treatment for thyroid cancer:
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