Stages and types

There are different types of thyroid cancer. The stage of a cancer tells you about its size and whether it has spread. Doctors use different staging systems - the TNM system and a number staging system.

Knowing the type and stage of your cancer helps your doctor decide which treatment you need. 

Types of thyroid cancer

The most common type of thyroid cancer is called papillary thyroid cancer. Other less common types include follicular and medullary thyroid cancer.

TNM staging

The tumour, node and metastasis (TNM) staging system helps to work out the stage of thyroid cancer.

Number stages for papillary and follicular thyroid cancer

The number staging for papillary and follicular thyroid cancer are the same.

Number stages for medullary thyroid cancer

The 4 stages for medullary thyroid cancer tell you about the size of the cancer and whether it has spread.

Number stages for anaplastic thyroid cancer

The number staging system groups cancers into 4 groups. Anaplastic thyroid cancers are considered to be stage 4 when they are diagnosed. 

Last reviewed: 
13 Apr 2021
Next review due: 
15 Apr 2024
Coronavirus and cancer

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