The thyroid gland is a small gland in the front, lower part of your neck, just below the voice box (larynx). It makes and releases hormones that regulate the ‘body clock’ (metabolic rate, growth and development).

Thyroid cancer affects almost 4,000 people each year in the UK. Women are more likely to get it than men and it is a cancer that is seen in younger age groups.

There are different types of thyroid cancer. The most common types are papillary and follicular thyroid cancer. These types of thyroid cancer together are called differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC).

  • Papillary – This is the most common type of thyroid cancer. It is usually slow-growing and more common in younger age groups and women.
  • Follicular – This is a less common type of thyroid cancer. It is mostly found in middle-aged people.
  • Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) – is a rare type of thyroid cancer. It can sometimes run in families and is associated multiple endocrine neoplasia.
  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer – is a very rare type of thyroid cancer that is fast-growing and aggressive.
  • Thyroid lymphomas – start in the lymph tissue of the thyroid. The lymph tissue is part of the body’s lymphatic system. Most thyroid lymphomas are a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

Symptoms of thyroid cancer include: a lump and/or pain in the front, lower part of your neck – the lump usually feels hard, slowly gets bigger and is not painful, a hoarse voice, a sore throat, a cough, difficulty swallowing or breathing.