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5 things you need to know about thyroid cancer
"Dancing With the Stars" host Brooke Burke-Charvet revealed this week she has thyroid cancer.
November 9th, 2012
12:32 PM ET

5 things you need to know about thyroid cancer

"Dancing with the Stars" host Brooke Burke-Charvet revealed Thursday she’s battling thyroid cancer via The ModernMom’s YouTube channel.

She says had no clue she had cancer - it was discovered during a routine physical.

"Doctors say this is a good kind of cancer to have. A good cancer ... that sounds so crazy," she says in the video. She says she is feeling great and is not going to let her diagnosis define her. "I'm going to make a positive out of this negative thing."

We strongly believe knowledge is power and that it's critical to be an Empowered Patient. So here are five things to know about thyroid cancer.

1. Women are more likely to get thyroid cancer then men. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2011 there were just over 48,000 new cases of thyroid cancer. Of those, 36,550 were in women and 11,470 were in men. Doctors aren't sure why.

2. It also impacts younger people. Nearly two out of three thyroid cancer cases are found in adults under 55. While it can occur at any age, women's risk peaks typically in their 40s or 50s, while the risk peaks for men usually in their 60s or 70s.

3. It tends not to be an "obvious" cancer. As was the case for Burke-Charvet, for most people there are no obvious symptoms. But over time as the cancer grows, according to the Mayo Clinic, it may cause symptoms ranging from a lump on your neck to difficulty swallowing to changes in your voice.

4. There are more cases now than there were 20 years ago. The number of thyroid cancer diagnoses have more than doubled since 1990. Why? According to the ACS, some of it is the result of the increased use of ultrasound, which can detect tiny nodules on the thyroid that might have been missed in the past.

5. The survival rate is high. Burke-Charvet says in her video that her doctor told her, "this is a happily-ever-after-ending kind of thing." If caught early, the survival rate is nearly 100%. But not everyone survives. Around 1,700 people do die, mostly because their cancer was caught in the late stages.

As for Burke-Charvet, she says that she will soon undergo a thyroidectomy which will remove her thyroid and leave a scar across her neck.


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.