Washington University surgical oncologists have the largest experience in the world treating medullary thyroid carcinoma, a rare form of thyroid cancer.

Medullary thyroid carcinoma is the third most common type of thyroid cancer but only accounts for 5 to 8 percent of cases. Medullary cancer of the thyroid arises from parafollicular cells (C cells), which secrete an abnormal hormone. This is a distinction from papillary and follicular thyroid carcinomas, which originate in cells producing thyroid hormone. C cells produce calcitonin, which does not control metabolism as thyroid hormones do.

Medullary thyroid carcinoma can occur as an isolated condition or as part of the Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 2 (MEN 2) syndromes.

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