Thyroid Cancer


Thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid. The thyroid is a gland that produces hormones to regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight. In the early stages of thyroid cancer, there are typically no signs or symptoms. As a tumor grows, it can cause difficulty swallowing, pain in the neck and throat, swollen lymph nodes, or changes in your voice.

General Information

There are five types of thyroid cancer.

Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common form of thyroid cancer. It most commonly occurs in people aged 30-50.

Follocular thyroid cancer usually occurs in people older than age 50. Hurthle cell cancer is a rare and more aggressive type of follicular thyroid cancer.

Medullary thyroid cancer begins in thyroid cells called, ‘C cells,’ which produce the hormone calcitonin. Elevated levels of this hormone can help diagnose this cancer in an early stage.

Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a rare (occurring in about 2% of all thyroid cancers) and fast-growing cancer, and very difficult to treat. This type of cancer occurs most often in people aged 60 or older. The survival rate is typically only 4-5 months from the time of diagnosis.

Thyroid lymphoma is a rare form of thyroid cancer that begins in the immune system cells of the thyroid and grows rapidly. This type of cancer generally affects older people.

Thyroid cancer occurs three times more often in women than in men. Causes of thyroid cancer include exposure to high levels of radiation, and genetics. A diagnosis of thyroid cancer is made via physical examination by your doctor, blood tests, biopsy, and imaging such as CT scan or PET scan.

If you have thyroid cancer, then you will undergo surgery to remove all or most of your thyroid. Once your thyroid is removed, you will need to be on prescription hormone medication for the rest of your life. Radioactive iodine treatment typically is done after a thyroidectomy to destroy any remaining thyroid tissue. This treatment comes in capsule or liquid form and is taken orally. Other treatment options include radiation, chemotherapy, drug therapy, or injection of alcohol into your thyroid.

Social Security Administration POMS DI 23022.340 Thyroid Cancer

Anaplastic thyroid cancer is listed under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Compassionate Allowance Program, which was launched in 2008 to expedite certain disability claims. Applying for disability benefits under the Compassionate Allowance Program requires the same procedure every applicant must follow when applying for SSA disability benefits; however, you will be notified if your condition is being considered as a Compassionate Allowance

The SSA will require a diagnosis based on a pathology report from a thyroid specimen to determine disability.

Your representative may be able to expedite your disability claim based on a diagnosis of anaplastic thyroid cancer.