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What are follicular and Hurthle cell thyroid cancers?

Follicular and Hurthle cell cancers are two different types of cancer, but they are often considered in the same category. Together, these cancers are the second most common thyroid cancer, after papillary cancer. They can occur at any age, but are more likely in older people. These cancers can be hard to diagnose on fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy because although the cells look funny or abnormal, there is nothing about the individual cells that are definitive for cancer. In cases of follicular and Hurthle cell lesions, the only way to tell is to look at the capsule surrounding the nodule and see if there is invasion (growth) outside the nodule.
Follicular thyroid cancer does not tend to spread to lymph nodes, but rather spreads through blood vessels to other organs, such as the lungs and bones. Hurthle cell cancers, on the other hand, will sometimes spread to lymph nodes in the neck region, but less commonly than papillary thyroid cancer.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.