What’s the difference between Thyroid and Thyroid Cancer?

About 20 million or more Americans, more of them women than men, are affected by Thyroid disease.

About one in 8 women will develop the thyroid disease in her lifetime.

Although the disease is common in the US, Thyroid cancer is extremely rare. It depends upon the cause.


About Thyroid

The gland is only about the size of your thumb, but it has an important role. This tiny organ situated just above your collarbone regulates the various functions of the body. This also includes how your heart rate is and how fast you burn calories. So, when your thyroid isn’t working properly, you may notice changes in your energy level or your mood. Diseases of this gland cause it to make either too much or too little of the hormone. The types include hypothyroidism, hypothyroidism, goitre and thyroid nodules.

Source: Care2

What is Thyroid cancer?

This is a disease that you get when abnormal cells begin to grow in your thyroid gland. It is an uncommon type of cancer. Most of the people have nodules which do not cause any signs or symptoms. But if you do have symptoms, you may have swelling or a lump in your neck. The lump may cause problems while swallowing food. Cancer is different than goitre, an enlargement of the gland that may be associated with hyper or hypothyroidism. This cancer is usually diagnosed by sticking a needle into a nodule.

Symptoms include pain in the neck, enlarged lymph nodes, lump, or swelling e.t.c.

Types and incidence:

–  Papillary cancer- 80%

– Follicular cancer- 15%

– Medullary cancer- 2%

– Anaplastic cancer- 3%

Most thyroid cancers are highly curable.

Both papillary and follicular cancers have a more than 97% cure rate if treated appropriately. Medullary thyroid cancer is significantly less common but has a worse prognosis.

Source: MedIndia

Then what is the difference?

Thyroid cancer is a growth of the gland (abnormal growth of the cells not in a particular rate) and differs from other thyroid problems, which are typically conditions resulting from changes in hormone production. Sometimes, the gland might secrete too much or too less hormone than it normally should, which results in hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

Source: Getty

Statistical Data

The number of women with this condition is increasing day by day, which may lead to increase in the number of cancer. About three times as many women get it, as compared to men. By the year 2020, the number of women suffering from it is expected to double, from 34,000 women to more than 70,000 women.

This disease is more common in women who are in between the ages of 25-65.


Both the conditions are different. Keep an eye on each and every sign or symptom. If you feel or see any of the minor symptoms troubling you, do consult a doctor. Give due attention to your lifestyle. You can’t control whether or not you develop cancer, but you can take precautionary steps to keep the body healthy and thereby stay away from the disease. For instance, eat a healthy diet full of a variety of fruits and vegetables, take enough sleep and indulge yourself physical activities.

Source: The Diabetes Council

Edited by: Preetika Dubey

Namrata Lamba

Content Writer

19, Optimistic, Happy-go-lucky. Having a sweet tooth. B.com Mgmt Hons student at IEHE.

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