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Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer
Sunday, 01 March 2009 12:18


What is thyroid anaplastic carcinoma?  What should I expect?


Anaplastic carcinoma accounts for 3-5 % of all thyroid cancers.  This cancer is the most aggressive and most dangerous form of thyroid cancer.  It spreads quickly and invades nearby structures.  It does not respond to traditional radioactive iodine treatment. The prognosis is poor.


Overall death rate from anaplastic carcinoma is high.  Prognosis is poor because this carcinoma is very aggressive and highly malignant.  This thyroid cancer is the most aggressive of the four thyroid cancers.  At the time of initial diagnosis typically 50% of cases will have already metastasized, spread to other locations in the body.2   The lung is the most common area for metastasis. 


Anaplastic carcinoma typically affects patients between 60-70 years old.1  It affects women more than men.  Anaplastic carcinoma only occurs in 3-5% of all thyroid cancers.  If one is diagnosis with thyroid cancer this is typically not the cancer, papillary and follicular carcinoma are much more common.


Treatment involves surgical removing of the tumor if possible, radiation and/or chemotherapy.  Typically, treatment has little effect on curing this cancer.


Prognosis is poor.  Death will usually occur within 6-9 months after diagnosis.  The 10 year survivor rate is 10-14%.2


Last Updated on Friday, 17 February 2012 11:32

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