Stages of thyroid cancer
The stages are different for each type of thyroid cancer and the age of the patient. Thus:
- In patients younger than 55 years with papillary or follicular thyroid cancer, there are stage 1 and stage 2. The only difference is that stage 1 has no distant metastasis but may or may not have regional invasion and lymph node infiltration. Stage 2 has distant metastasis and a poorer prognosis.
- When patients are older than 55 years and are diagnosed with papillary or follicular thyroid cancer, doctors talk about three stages. Stage 1 is a small tumor with no spread to the lymph nodes and no distant spread. Stage 2 is a large tumor with no spread. Stage 3 features spread to lymph nodes. Stage 4 is divided into A, B, and C, depending on how severe is the invasion of the tumor (to nearby tissue, to lymph nodes in outside the central compartment, and to distant organs).
- The same classification with four stages is given to medullary thyroid cancer
- All forms of anaplastic thyroid cancer are considered stage IV cancer and they are divided into A, B, or C, depending on how severe is the invasion of the tumor.