Thyroid Cancer in Children: Just Diagnosed Information


The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped organ that sits below the “Adam’s apple” in the front of the neck.  The thyroid gland makes hormones that are necessary throughout life and regulates:
  1. The body’s response to hot and cold
  2. Energy level of the body
  3. Weight and appetite

Thyroid cancer in children is rare and often cured.  Only one in 1,000-2,000 children under 20 are affected by thyroid cancer in the United States each year.  Survival rates among children are nearly 95%.  

There are four types of thyroid cancer:
  1. Papillary thyroid: a slow growing cancer that is the most common type of thyroid cancer.
  2. Follicular thyroid: a slow growing cancer that has high rates of successful treatment.
  3. Medullary thyroid: a cancer that affects the thyroid’s ability to maintain a healthy balance of calcium in the blood.
  4. Anaplastic thyroid: a rare and aggressive form of thyroid cancer.
Thyroid cancer is usually detected by the appearance of a lump in the neck and usually does not cause any symptoms.  Symptoms that may occur include trouble breathing or swallowing, or changes in a child’s voice.  Thyroid cancer may be suspected in people who develop sensitivity to hot or cold, begin to experience heart palpitations, or who have sudden, large fluctuations in body weight.

Diagnosing Thyroid Cancer

If a lump is felt in the area of the thyroid gland, an ultrasound test is usually done.  A needle biopsy is also often performed to determine the make-up of the lump.  This is because not all lumps in the thyroid are cancerous.  Other studies are done after the cancer is diagnosed to find out if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes of the neck (usually with an ultrasound, a CT scan or an MRI) and to the chest (X-Ray or CT scan).

 

Last updated September, 2011

About Thyroid Cancer
In Treatment for Thyroid Cancer
After Treatment for Thyroid Cancer 


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