Thyroid Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 05/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people are diagnosed with this type of cancer each year and some general survival information. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

This year, an estimated 62,450 adults (15,220 men and 47,230 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women. The incidence rates of thyroid cancer in both women and men have been increasing in recent years. In fact, it is the most rapidly increasing cancer diagnosis in the United States, and researchers are working to figure out why. It is estimated that 1,950 deaths (870 men and 1,080 women) from this disease will occur this year.

The five-year survival rate is the percentage of people who survive at least five years after the cancer is found. The five-year survival rate of all people with thyroid cancer is about 98%.

Survival rates differ depending on the subtype of thyroid cancer (see Overview) and the stage of disease (see Stages). The five-year relative survival rate for people with papillary, follicular, and medullary thyroid cancers that have not spread outside the thyroid is almost 100%. For cancer that has spread to the regional lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate is 98%. The five-year survival rate for cancer that has spread outside the thyroid to other parts of the body is 55%. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is associated with a much lower survival rate.

Cancer survival statistics should be interpreted with caution. These estimates are based on data from thousands of people with this type of cancer in the United States each year, so the actual risk for a particular individual may be different. It is not possible to tell a person how long he or she will live with thyroid cancer. Because the survival statistics are measured in five-year intervals, they may not represent advances made in the treatment or diagnosis of this cancer. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2015.

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations and it offers drawings of body parts often affected by this disease. Or, use the menu on the left side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.