HEALTHY LIVING
11/08/2012 06:43 pm ET | Updated Nov 08, 2012

Thyroid Cancer: Brooke Burke-Charvet's Condition, Explained

Brooke Burke-Charvet, co-host of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," has revealed that she has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and will be undergoing thyroid surgery and a thyroidectomy, according to news reports.

Burke-Charvet, 41, was diagnosed after cancer was detected in a nodule in her throat, HuffPost Entertainment reported.

"I've booked my surgery," she said in a video. "It's taken me a couple of months to really wrap my head around this ... Now I'm good. I'm ready to deal with it, and I'm going to be fine. I feel really, really strong. Doctors say this is a 'good' kind of cancer to have."

Thyroid cancer is a lot less common than other cancers, with 56,460 new cases expected this year, according to the National Cancer Institute. It involves cancer of the body's thyroid gland, which is located near the bottom part of the throat and plays a major part in the functioning of hormones.

Risk of thyroid cancer is higher for women, people of Asian descent, younger and middle aged people (between ages 25 and 65), people with a family history and people who've previously undergone radiation of the head or neck area, according to the National Institutes of Health.

There is more than one kind of thyroid cancer -- the most common type, papillary carcinoma, is also the least dangerous, and usually affects women. The most dangerous kind, anaplastic carcinoma, is also the rarest; the form most likely to recur is called follicular carcinoma, according to the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. The kind that is most likely to run in the family is medullary carcinoma, which is actually when the non-thyroid cells in the thyroid gland develop cancer.

Symptoms of thyroid cancer include the presence of a lump in the neck, problems with swallowing, neck and throat pain, swollen lymph nodes and hoarseness or other voice changes, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The disease is typically treated with surgery -- thyroidectomy involves surgery to remove the entire thyroid, which is the procedure Burke-Charvet will undergo. Depending on the case, it may also be necessary to remove lymph nodes in the neck, the Mayo Clinic reported. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy and radioactive iodine treatments may also be necessary.

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