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What Is Thyroid Cancer?

In order to understand what is happening when you have cancer, it helps to know how your body works normally. Tiny building blocks called cells make up your body. Normal cells grow and multiply when your body needs them. These cells can die out when your body does not need them. Cancer may occur when abnormal cells grow, whether your body needs them or not.

Illustration of the thyroid glad and its location
Thyroid Gland - Click to Enlarge

Thyroid cancer begins in your thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is in your neck. It is located under your Adam’s apple and above your collarbone. You usually cannot see or feel your thyroid. It faces the front, but it’s underneath your skin. It’s shaped like a butterfly, with two lobes (a right and left lobe) connected by a bridge of tissue, called the isthmus. The thyroid is made up of two main types of cells. The follicular cells make and store thyroid hormones. The C cells (parafollicular cells) make the hormone calcitonin, which helps regulate calcium levels in your body. 

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