What is Anaplastic Cancer of the Thyroid?

Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a very aggressive tumour with unfortunately a poor prognosis; even withmodern treatmentsless than10% of patients survive 3 years.Fortunately it is one of the least common thyroid cancers (0.5-1.5%).It is a cancer of the over sixties and is commonest in areas of endemic goitre where there is chronic iodine deficiency. The cancer may arise in pre-existing follicular tumours.

At the time of diagnosis 90% of patients have metastases to the lymph nodes and 50% will have secondaries in their lungs.The tumour invades the trachea and the oesophagus and may present with stridor (noisy breathing).