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Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer Patient Guide

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© 2021 American yroid Association. All rights reserved. 2 ABOUT ANAPLASTIC THYROID CANCER (ATC) • e thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located in the lower front of your neck. • e thyroid gland is responsible for sending out thyroid hormones to the rest of your body. • yroid hormone helps the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working normally. • yroid cancer is a malignant tumor of the thyroid gland. • yroid cancer is a common type of cancer, but anaplastic thyroid cancer, or ATC, is rare and only makes up 1% or less of all thyroid cancers. ATC affects one to two people per one million per year in the US. • ere are four types of thyroid cancers, of which ATC is the least common. ATC grows and spreads more rapidly than any other type. • ATC is also known as undifferentiated thyroid cancer because the cells do not in any way resemble normal thyroid cells. In contrast, the cells in other thyroid cancers are abnormal but retain some healthy thyroid cell features (they are called differentiated thyroid cells). • ere are no known causes for ATC, however it usually occurs in individuals aged 60 or older. • About half of all patients with ATC have had or currently have another type of thyroid cancer. • While overall survival statistics are discouraging – with an average survival rate of 6 months and approximately 1 in 5 alive aer 12 months – it is important to note that there are long-term survivors and new effective treatment options.

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