Women and Thyroid Cancer

Women and Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer is one of the most common forms of endocrine malignancy worldwide. Women are almost three times more likely to get thyroid cancer than men, and usually at an earlier age, but the disease is typically more aggressive in men.1


Over the past four decades, incidence rates have increased, especially in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. However, even as incidence rates have increased, mortality rates have stabilized.2

  • Thyroid cancer is the seventh most common cancer in women.1
  • In 2009, thyroid cancer resulted in an economic burden of $3.7 billion.3
  • By 2020, there will be almost 200,000 new cases of thyroid cancer annually.3


Thyroid cancer forms in the thyroid gland. There are four main types of thyroid cancer: papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic. The majority of thyroid cancers grow very slowly, and can either be cured or treated successfully. Only anaplastic thyroid cancer, which represents 1% of thyroid cancers, grows quickly and is difficult to control.4

1 Future Oncol. 2010 November;6(11):1771-1779.

2 Annals of Oncology 21 (Supplement 5): v214–v219, 2010.

3 Breakaway: The global burden of cancer-challenges and opportunities. Economist Intelligence Unit Limited. 2009.

4 National Cancer Institute. What You Need to Know About™ Thyroid Cancer. Internet Edition. January 2012.

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