Thyroid Cancer


Treatment for thyroid cancer depends on the location of the tumor, as well as the stage of the cancer, and the person's age and overall health.

  • Surgery to remove the thyroid is the most common treatyment for thyroid cancer. Part of the thyroid may be removed, called a lobectomy, or nearly all of the thyroid leaving a small part, called a thyroidectomy. When the surgeon removes all of the thyroid it is called a total thyroidectomy. A lymphadenectomy removes the entire thyroid, as well as lymphnodes in the neck that contain cancer. After removal of the thyroid, a person takes medication to replace the thyroid hormone typically produced by the thyroid.

  • Radiation therapy uses x-rays and other types of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy for thyroid cancer can either come from a machine outside the body (external radiation therapy) or from radioactive radiation therapy taken orally by the patient.

  • Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Anticancer drugs may be taken by mouth or given by injection into a blood vessel or a muscle.

  • Hormone therapy is used to keep cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow. In the treatment of thyroid cancer, drugs may be given to block the body's production of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which can increase the risk of the cancer recurring.

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