Thyroid cancer is the abnormal growth of tissue in the thyroid. The thyroid is a gland located in the front of the neck, below the larynx (voice box). It produces hormones that regulate various important metabolic processes in the body.
Cancer occurs when the abnormal growth, called a nodule, develops when the cells in the thyroid gland divide uncontrollably to produce extra tissue. These nodules can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Malignant types of thyroid cancers include:
The symptoms of thyroid cancer depend on its type, but most thyroid nodules, whether benign or malignant, generally have the following symptoms:
The exact cause of thyroid nodules remains unknown. However, there are risk factors that may increase the chance of their development.