Statistics at a Glance
At a Glance
Estimated New Cases in 2020 52,890
% of All New Cancer Cases 2.9%
Estimated Deaths in 2020 2,180
% of All Cancer Deaths 0.4%
|Year||Rate of New Cases — SEER 9||Rate of New Cases — SEER 13||Death Rate — U.S.||5-Year Relative Survival — SEER 9|
|Observed||Modeled Trend||Observed||Modeled Trend||Observed||Modeled Trend||Observed||Modeled Trend|
New cases come from SEER 13. Deaths come from U.S. Mortality.
All Races, Both Sexes. Rates are Age-Adjusted.
Modeled trend lines were calculated from the underlying rates using the Joinpoint Trend Analysis Software.
New cases are also referred to as incident cases in other publications. Rates of new cases are also referred to as incidence rates.
Rate of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The rate of new cases of thyroid cancer was 15.7 per 100,000 men and women per year. The death rate was 0.5 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2013–2017 cases and deaths.
Lifetime Risk of Developing Cancer: Approximately 1.3 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2015–2017 data.
Prevalence of This Cancer: In 2017, there were an estimated 859,838 people living with thyroid cancer in the United States.
How Many People Survive 5 Years Or More after Being Diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer?
Relative survival statistics compare the survival of patients diagnosed with cancer with the survival of people in the general population who are the same age, race, and sex and who have not been diagnosed with cancer. Because survival statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient. No two patients are entirely alike, and treatment and responses to treatment can vary greatly.
Based on data from SEER 18 2010–2016. Gray figures represent those who have died from thyroid cancer. Green figures represent those who have survived 5 years or more.
Survival by Stage
Cancer stage at diagnosis, which refers to extent of a cancer in the body, determines treatment options and has a strong influence on the length of survival. In general, if the cancer is found only in the part of the body where it started it is localized (sometimes referred to as stage 1). If it has spread to a different part of the body, the stage is regional or distant. The earlier thyroid cancer is caught, the better chance a person has of surviving five years after being diagnosed. For thyroid cancer, 66.5% are diagnosed at the local stage. The 5-year relative survival for localized thyroid cancer is 99.9%.
|Stage||Percent of Cases||5-Year Relative Survival|
Confined to Primary Site
Spread to Regional Lymph Nodes
Cancer Has Metastasized
SEER 18 2010–2016, All Races, Both Sexes by SEER Summary Stage 2000
New Cases and Deaths
How Common Is This Cancer?
Compared to other cancers, thyroid cancer is relatively rare.
|Rank||Common Types of Cancer||Estimated New
|1.||Breast Cancer (Female)||276,480||42,170|
|2.||Lung and Bronchus Cancer||228,820||135,720|
|5.||Melanoma of the Skin||100,350||6,850|
|8.||Kidney and Renal Pelvis Cancer||73,750||14,830|
Thyroid cancer represents 2.9% of all new cancer cases in the U.S.
In 2020, it is estimated that there will be 52,890 new cases of thyroid cancer and an estimated 2,180 people will die of this disease.
Who Gets This Cancer?
Thyroid cancer is more common in women than men and among those with a family history of thyroid disease. The rate of new cases of thyroid cancer was 15.7 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2013–2017 cases, age-adjusted.
|American Indian/Alaska Native||3.9|
|American Indian/Alaska Native||14.5|
SEER 21 2013–2017, Age-Adjusted
|Age Range||Percent of New Cases|
Thyroid cancer is most frequently diagnosed among people aged 45–54.
SEER 21 2013–2017, All Races, Both Sexes
Who Dies From This Cancer?
For thyroid cancer, death rates increase with age. The death rate was 0.5 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2013–2017 deaths, age-adjusted.
|American Indian/Alaska Native||0.6|
|American Indian/Alaska Native||0.4|
U.S. 2013–2017, Age-Adjusted
|Age Range||Percent of Deaths|
The percent of thyroid cancer deaths is highest among people aged 75–84.
U.S. 2013–2017, All Races, Both Sexes
Trends in Rates
Changes Over Time
Keeping track of new cases, deaths, and survival over time (trends) can help scientists understand whether progress is being made and where additional research is needed to address challenges, such as improving screening or finding better treatments.
Using statistical models for analysis, age-adjusted rates for new thyroid cancer cases have been stable over the last 10 years. Age-adjusted death rates have been rising on average 0.7% each year over 2008–2017. 5-year relative survival trends are shown below.
More About This Cancer
Cancer and the Thyroid
Figure: Anatomy of the thyroid and parathyroid glands; illustration shows the thyroid gland at the base of the throat near the trachea. An inset shows the front and back views. The front view shows that the thyroid is shaped like a butterfly, with the right lobe and left lobe connected by a thin piece of tissue called the isthmus. The back view shows the four pea-sized parathyroid glands.
This cancer forms in the thyroid gland, an organ at the base of the throat that makes hormones that help control heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight.
Four main types of thyroid cancer are papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. The four types are based on how the cancer cells look under a microscope.
Here are some resources for learning more about thyroid cancer.
- More about risk factors for thyroid cancer
- More about symptoms and diagnosis of thyroid cancer
- More about treatment options for thyroid cancer
- More about clinical trials
- More about cancer prevention
All statistics in this report are based on statistics from SEER and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Most can be found within:
Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Brest A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975–2017, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2017/, based on November 2019 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2020.
All material in this report is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission; citation as to source, however, is appreciated.
SEER Cancer Stat Facts: Thyroid Cancer. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/thyro.html
These stat facts focus on population statistics that are based on the U.S. population. Because these statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient. To see tailored statistics, browse the SEER Cancer Statistics Review. To see statistics for a specific state, go to the State Cancer Profiles.
The statistics presented in these stat facts are based on the most recent data available, most of which can be found in the SEER Cancer Statistics Review. In some cases, different year spans may be used. Estimates for the current year are based on past data.
Cancer is a complex topic. There is a wide range of information available. These stat facts do not address causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care, or decision making, although links are provided to information in many of these areas.