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thyroid cancer

any of various benign tumours (adenomas) or malignant tumours (cancers) of the thyroid gland. Most thyroid tumours are adenomas; these have a wide variation of cellular patterns. Most of the tumours have well-developed follicles; thus, they are collectively known as follicular adenomas. Most thyroid adenomas do not take up iodine or produce thyroid hormone. Thyroid cancer is relatively rare-only about 5 percent of all thyroid nodules are cancers, and only about 0.5 percent of all cancer deaths are from thyroid cancer. The peak incidence of thyroid cancer occurs at about 50 years of age, and women are affected about three times as often as men. Most thyroid cancers are composed of mature-looking thyroid cells, grow very slowly, and are rarely fatal.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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