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  • Thyroid Cancer: Know the Facts

How common is thyroid cancer? The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for thyroid cancer in the United States suggest about 43,720 new cases of thyroid cancer (12,540 in men and 31,180 in women) each year.  Approximately 970 men and 1,150 women could die.

Thyroid cancer is often diagnosed at a younger age than other adult cancers with the average age of diagnosis being 51.

This cancer is about 3 times more common in women than in men, and nearly 70% more common in Caucasian people than in people of color. In fact, African Americans have the lowest rate.

What is thyroid cancer?

Thyroid cancer starts in the thyroid gland, the gland that makes hormones to help regulate your metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.

People can develop thyroid nodules at any age, but they occur most commonly in older adults. Fewer than 1 in 10 adults have thyroid nodules that can be felt by a doctor. 

The main types of thyroid cancer are:

  • Differentiated (including papillary, follicular, and Hürthle cell)
  • Medullary
  • Anaplastic (an aggressive cancer)

What are the signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer?

Thyroid cancer can cause any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • A lump in the neck, sometimes growing quickly
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes going up to the ears
  • Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • A constant cough that is not due to a cold

Find answers at UCR Health

If you have any of these signs or symptoms, talk to your doctor right away. Many can also be caused by non-cancerous conditions or even other cancers of the neck area. Lumps in the thyroid are common and are usually benign. Still, if you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor so the cause can be found and treated early.

To speak with a UCR Health physician, please visit or give us a call at 1-844-827-8000.

About UCR Health

UCR Health is comprised of a team of physicians, specialists, and healthcare professionals dedicated to improving people’s health. With five medical offices located throughout the Inland Empire and Coachella Valley, UCR Health is growing to meet the healthcare needs of the region, bringing innovative, culturally sensitive medical care to the community. Established alongside the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside, UCR Health’s patient-centered primary care and specialty services deliver university-based healthcare excellence and innovation to all communities.