Thyroid Cancer

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Treatment Options

Thyroid cancer treatment depends on the type and stage of the cancer. Your doctor will first take a complete medical history and do a physical exam to feel your neck for an enlarged thyroid and for enlarged lymph nodes. If a suspicious lump is felt, your doctor will talk to you about additional tests needed to make a diagnosis.

It is likely that your doctor will get an ultrasound of the thyroid to help characterize the lump or nodule.  In many cases, the nodule will need to undergo a biopsy, known as fine-needle aspiration or FNA. For FNA biopsy, a thin needle is inserted into the nodule to remove cells and fluid for testing, typicall done under ultrasound guidance. In some cases, it may be necessary to perform the biopsy by surgery. Once the biopsy is obtained, under a microscope, a pathologist will determine whether the cells are cancerous or not.

Next, a series of tests may be done to give your doctor more information about your thyroid cancer. These tests most commonly include blood tests and an ultrasound of the thyroid and neck, if not performed already. Oocasionally some additional tests will also be ordered.  With the results of these tests, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you, including the ones listed below. If you have any concerns or questions, your doctor will answer them and help you to understand your disease.  Treatment for thyroid cancer depends on the type and stage of the cancer. Standard treatment usually involves one or more of the following: 

  • Surgery
  • Radioactive iodine therapy
  • Thyroid hormone suppression 

With the results of these tests, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you, including the ones listed below. If you have any concerns or questions, your doctor will answer them and help you to understand your disease.  Treatment for thyroid cancer depends on the type and stage of the cancer. Standard treatment usually involves one or more of the following:


Thyroid Cancer Surgery

Surgery is usually the first treatment option for patients with thyroid cancer.

Radioactive Iodine Therapy

Radioactive iodine therapy ordinarily starts about eight weeks after surgery.

Thyroid Hormone Therapy

Thyroid hormone therapy prevents the re-growth of thyroid tumors.

External Beam Radiation Therapy and Chemotherapy

Aggressive thyroid cancers may require more aggressive treatments, such as external beam radiation therapy and chemotherapy.