Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
The thyroid gland is located low in the front of the neck, below the Adam's apple. The gland is shaped like a butterfly and wraps around the windpipe or trachea. The two wings or lobes on either side of the windpipe are joined together by a bridge, called the isthmus, which crosses over the front of the windpipe.
Thyroid cancer accounts for nearly 2% of all new cancers diagnosed in the United States every year, according to the U.S. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results cancer registry (SEER) predictions. Over the last 10 years, thyroid cancer has had a larger increase in incidence than any other type of cancer.
Thyroid cancer occurs in all age groups, although its incidence increases with age, especially after 30 years of age. More aggressive forms of thyroid cancer are found in older patients. Thyroid cancer occurs three times more frequently in women than in men. Thyroid cancer originates from one of two different types of thyroid cells: follicular cells or so-called parafollicular, or C cells.