What Is Papillary Thyroid Cancer?

Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common type of thyroid cancer. As the name suggests, it develops in the thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing many of the body’s hormones. The term "papillary" refers to the way the cells appear when viewed beneath a microscope.

Papillary thyroid cancer is:

  • Diagnosed in women more frequently than men
  • Most common in patients between the ages of 30 and 55
  • The most common type of thyroid cancer in children

In most cases, papillary thyroid cancers are slow-growing and diagnosed before they metastasize (spread to other parts of the body). These cancers are usually limited to a single section of the thyroid gland. Patients often have a variety of treatment options, including surgery, radioactive iodine treatment, hormone therapy and chemotherapy.

Papillary thyroid cancer outcomes

Many patients are diagnosed before they actually have any symptoms. Their physician may notice a small lump in their neck, or a thyroid nodule might appear on an imaging scan performed for another, unrelated reason. Because of the high rate of early detection, outcomes are generally positive. The 10-year survival rate for tumors that have not spread outside of the thyroid is nearly 95 percent. Most patients also maintain a high quality of life both during and after treatment, with a variety of supportive care options available to counteract common side effects.

Comprehensive thyroid cancer treatment at Moffitt Cancer Center

Moffitt Cancer Center’s Endocrine Tumor Program welcomes patients with all types and stages of thyroid cancer. Patients who do not yet have an official diagnosis can undergo a rapid response thyroid nodule assessment at our Thyroid Nodule Clinic, and patients who are ready to move forward with treatment can consult with our experienced endocrinologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and surgeons. We offer a comprehensive range of papillary thyroid cancer treatments under one roof.

No referral is required to request an appointment. Call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.