Thyroid cancer is a rare type of cancer affecting the thyroid gland at the base of the neck; however it is not usually classified as a head and neck cancer.

There are around 3,900 new thyroid cancer cases in the UK every year, accounting for 1% of all new cancer cases (2016-2018). Incidence rates have increased by 65% in the UK over the last decade and are projected to rise by 74% by 2035.

While head and neck cancers are more often diagnosed in men, thyroid cancer incidence rates are highest in females – particularly younger and middle-aged women.

More than 8 in 10 people survive their disease for ten years or more and survival rates are highest for adults diagnosed under 50 years old, in England.

Risk factors

A person's risk of developing thyroid cancer depends on many factors, including age, genetics and lifestyle. Select start to explore the risk factors related to this cancer type.