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Papillary Cancer – The Most Common Thyroid Cancer

– Papillary carcinoma is a relatively common well-differentiated thyroid cancer.
– Papillary/follicular carcinoma must be considered a variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma.
– Papillary carcinoma may be overtly or minimally invasive. In fact, these tumors may spread easily to other organs.
– Papillary tumors have a propensity to invade lymphatics but are less likely to invade blood vessels.
– Papillary carcinoma typically arises as an irregular, solid or cystic mass that arises from otherwise normal thyroid tissue.
– About 75 – 85% of all thyroid cancers diagnosed in the United States are papillary carcinoma.
– The cause of this cancer is unknown. A genetic defect may be involved. High-dose external radiation to the neck increases the risk of developing thyroid cancer.

Treatment for Papillary Cancer


With this type of thyroid cancer treatment, part or all of the thyroid gland is removed. Additionally, if any nearby lymph nodes have been affected by the cancer, they too may be removed. Following this type of thyroid cancer treatment, individuals will begin taking thyroid hormone pills to replace the thyroid hormones that used to be secreted by the thyroid gland which also serves to suppress re-growth of the thyroid cancer.


Used almost exclusively as a thyroid cancer treatment for anaplastic cancer, chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to kill malignant (or cancerous) cells.

Radioactive iodine therapy

Usually employed as a follow-up thyroid cancer treatment to surgery, patients ingest a measured amount of radioactive iodine. This iodine then usually kills any thyroid tissue that was unable to be removed during the surgical procedure.

External radiation

External radiation is a thyroid cancer treatment option that involves directing radiation at residual tumor cells from an outside radiation source to help shrink or kill these cells. In patients for whom surgery may not be feasible, external radiation is usually the next preferred option.

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