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Thyroid cancer - papillary carcinoma

  • Definition

    Papillary carcinoma of the thyroid is the most common cancer of the thyroid gland.

    See also: Thyroid cancer

    Alternative Names

    Papillary carcinoma of the thyroid

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    About 80% of all thyroid cancers diagnosed in the United States are papillary carcinoma type. It is more common in women than in men. It may occur in childhood, but is most often seen in adults around the age of 45.

    The cause of this cancer is unknown. A genetic defect may be involved.

    Radiation increases the risk of developing thyroid cancer. Exposure may occur from:

    • High-dose external radiation treatments to the neck, especially during childhood, used to treat childhood cancer or some benign childhood conditions.
    • Radiation due to atomic bomb testing in the Marshall Islands and the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine, mostly in children.

    Radiation given through a vein (through an IV) during medical tests and treatments does not increase the risk of developing thyroid cancer.