LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ announcement Friday of a thyroid cancer diagnosis raised numerous questions about the illness and its treatment.

The Republican candidate for governor announced she had undergone surgery earlier in the day and was now cancer-free. The surgery was performed at CARTI in Little Rock by Dr. John Sims.

What is the thyroid?

The Mayo Clinic describes the thyroid as a small, butterfly-shaped gland situated at the base of the front of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple.

What does the thyroid do?

The thyroid controls your metabolism by producing two hormones that tell the body’s cells how much energy to use, according to Cleveland Clinic.

How often is thyroid surgery done?

There are approximately 93,000 thyroidectomies done each year in the United States, according to the National Institute of Health.

What kind of thyroid cancer did Sanders have?

According to Sims, Sanders had a Stage I papillary thyroid carcinoma, which he called the most common type of thyroid cancer. Sims went on to say that following the surgery she will need treatment with radioactive iodine as well as long-term follow-up care, but the doctor noted that he did not see this “slowing her down.”

What are the signs of possible thyroid cancer?

Signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, can be one of several things: a lump in the neck sometimes growing quickly, swelling in the neck, pain in the front of the neck sometimes going up to the ears, hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away, trouble swallowing, trouble to breathe, or a constant cough that is not due to a cold.

Some patients, it is cautioned, have no symptoms.

How likely is it for someone to get thyroid cancer

According to UAMS, women are three times more likely to develop thyroid cancer than men. Doctors added that the illness is also most commonly seen in patients older than 45.

What are the risk factors for thyroid cancer?

One of the more likely ways to get thyroid cancer, according to Baptist Health, is to not get enough iodine in the diet. Some diseases, like Gardner syndrome, can increase the risk, as can radiation treatment to the head and neck, especially during childhood.

How do they test for thyroid cancer?

In her Friday announcement, Huckabee Sander stated her cancer had been detected by a biopsy ordered by her doctor during a checkup. Cancer Centers of America state this is the only accurate way to diagnose thyroid cancer.