• Thyroid Carcinoma in Children

    Thyroid carcinoma is a rare cancer in children that forms in the thyroid gland, the butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck that produces hormones that play a critical role in a child’s growth and metabolism. Some cases of thyroid cancer are due to high exposure to radiation or rare familial conditions, but most thyroid cancers occur in children with no known risk factors.

    The two most common types of thyroid carcinoma in children are:

    • Differentiated thyroid carcinoma, which includes papillary thyroid carcinoma and follicular thyroid carcinoma, both of which develop in the cells that produce thyroid hormone. The papillary form is the most common.
    • Medullary thyroid carcinoma, which is very rare, develops in cells that do not produce thyroid hormone and typically affects adults. However, there is a familial form in which children may develop the tumor very early in life.

    At diagnosis, about 70 percent of children have disease that has spread to the lymph nodes. Of these, about 10 percent have disease that has spread to more distant sites, such as the lungs.

    Thyroid Carcinoma Treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s

    Children with thyroid carcinoma are treated by an integrated multi-disciplinary team that includes the Boston Children’s Hospital Thyroid Program and the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Rare Tumors Program.

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  • Contact the Thyroid Program

    Phone: 617-355-8226

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