What can you tell me about thyroid cancer?

Thyroid cancer is a slow-growing cancer that is highly treatable and usually curable. Thyroid cancer occurs when a lump, or nodule, in the thyroid gland is cancerous.

The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and located in the front of the neck, just above the top of the breastbone and overlying the windpipe. The thyroid helps control many body processes, including heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature, as well as childhood growth and development.

According to the National Cancer Institute risk factors for thyroid cancer include:

Being between ages 25 and 65, particularly over 45

Being a woman

Family history of goiters or thyroid nodules

Family history of thyroid cancer

Having radiation treatments to your head or neck.

Most thyroid cancers are treated with surgery to remove the tumor. After the surgery, patients will require hormone therapy, as the thyroid will be gone or damaged and cannot produce the proper hormones the body needs any longer.

Radioactive iodine is another common treatment for thyroid cancer.

For information, contact Courtney Britton, librarian at Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, at (225) 927-2273, cbritton@cancerservices.org or visit the Education Center, 550 Lobdell Ave., in Baton Rouge.

ä Internet Resources:

What you Need to Know about Thyroid Cancer — National Cancer Institute, cancer.gov

Thyroid Cancer — American Society of Clinical Oncology,


This column is presented as a service by Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, a United Way affiliate.