Thyroid Cancer: Statistics

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

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people learn they have 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 62,980 adults (15,190 men and 47,790 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It is estimated that 1,890 deaths (830 men and 1,060 women) from this disease will occur this year. 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, and researchers are working to figure out why.

The five-year survival rate is the percentage of people who survive at least five years after the cancer is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases. The five-year survival rate of people with thyroid cancer is about 98%. The five-year relative survival rate for papillary, follicular, and medullary thyroid cancers that have not spread outside the thyroid is about 100%. For cancer that has spread to the regional lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate is 97%. The five-year survival rate for cancer that has spread outside the thyroid to other parts of the body is 55% (see Stages). 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, but the actual risk for a particular individual may differ. 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 2014.

To continue reading this guide to see a basic drawing of common body parts affected by this disease, use the menu on the side of your screen to select another section.