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Lymphoma is a disease in which lymphocytes (i.e. blood cells that fight infection) turn into cancer cells. In thyroid lymphoma, the lymphocytes of the thyroid turn into cancer cells. Thyroid lymphoma is a very rare disease that accounts for 1 to 2% of all thyroid cancers and 1 to 2% of all lymphomas outside the lymph nodes. Most patients are older with an average age in the late 60's. If properly diagnosed and treated, the prognosis is very good.
Primary thyroid lymphoma (PTL) is a rare type of thyroid cancer. It arises from special blood cells called lymphocytes. PTL accounts for 1 to 5% of all thyroid cancers, 1 to 2% of all lymphomas outside of lymph nodes, and has an annual incidence of 2 cases per one million people. There are several different kinds of lymphoma, but the vast majority of patients are diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). Determining the exact type of the lymphoma is important for treatment choice and prognosis.
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