Nodules in the thyroid glands are very common. Only a small proportion of nodules (approximately 5%) are malignant thyroid cancers. Except for some rare types of cancer, the prognosis of a thyroid cancer that has been treated is usually excellent. The most common type of thyroid cancer is papillary thyroid cancer that spreads to the lymph nodes but does not send metastases. Follicular cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed thyroid cancer. It can sometimes send metastases.
Treatment of thyroid cancer typically involves the surgical removal of the entire thyroid gland which requires oncological care and treatment administered by a cancer specialist. This involves utilizing the property of radioactive iodine that allows it to accumulate in the thyroid tissue (and the cancerous tissue). Some patients need surgical removal of the lymph nodes in the neck over a wider area, either at first or later on.
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