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Thyroid Cancer Prognosis

Thyroid cancer prognosis is highly dependent on the type of cancer, the gene mutation, the extent of metastasis, and clinical factors that are specific to each individual.

Well-differentiated Thyroid Cancer

Most patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) and follicular carcinoma (FTC) have an excellent prognosis.

The prognosis of patients with well-differentiated thyroid cancers is worse when the following features are present:

  • Invasion into nearby tissues
  • Aggressive gene mutations
  • Aggressive variants
  • Large tumors
  • Lymph node metastasis
  • Distant metastases
  • Older age

Medullary Thyroid Cancer (MTC)

MTC accounts for a small percentage of all thyroid cancers. The long-term survival of patients with MTC is highly variable. Distinct to MTC, these cancers tend to produce elevated calcitonin levels in the blood, making it an important predictor of disease progression. Following surgery, increasing calcitonin levels is concerning. Genetic mutations in the RET gene predisposes to poorer outcomes.

Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer (undifferentiated)

Anaplastic thyroid cancer account for a very small percentage of all thyroid cancers. It is an extremely aggressive malignancy. Advances in treatments including targeted therapies improved the prognosis of this rare cancer.