Where does thyroid cancer typically come back?

Anaplastic Cancer. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is the least common form, but also the most aggressive. It is usually fatal, and spreads by direct extension, so that the cancer cells push outside of the thyroid and grow into nearby neck structures, including muscle, the trachea (windpipe), and blood vessels, including the carotid artery and the jugular vein.
Medullary Cancer. Medullary thyroid cancer involves the parafollicular cells, or c-cells in the thyroid. It is the most common type to run in families. Medullary thyroid cancer most usually recurs locally in the lymph nodes of the neck, or in the liver.
Follicular Cancer. Follicular thyroid cancer is somewhat more likely to spread, or metastasize to distant sites including the lungs, liver, bone, and brain without recurring in the neck.
It depends. There are different types of thyroid cancer, with different patterns of recurrence, or where they are most likely to come back. Papillary thyroid cancer, the most common type, most often recurs in the lymph nodes of the neck and central chest (mediastinum). It can, however, spread to the lungs, liver, bones, and the brain in some patients. In most cases, though, it does not come back at all.

Related Questions

Had thyroid cancer and removal 3 years ago and didn't have to do any radiation, can it come back? I'm worried I have a 2 year old and one on the way

Yes. Thyroid cancer can come back. That is why it is important to have continued follow-up with your doctor to make sure your TSH suppression, surveillance imaging and blood work is performed to monitor for signs of recurrence.

What to do if I had thyroid cancer 23 years ago and my thyroid was removed but I did not have radiation does this mean it has come back?

No. Thyroid cancer behaves differently at different ages. If one is in the 60's and has a thyroidectomy for cancer, frequently the lesion is locally aggressive invading the larynx and making surgery very difficult. When you had your tumor removed at age 18, even in the face of metastasis to many cervical nodes, resection without radiation is virtually curative.

What are chances of stage 1 papillary carcinoma thyroid cancer coming back if I don't do radioactive iodine, but had surgery to remove entire thyroid?

Well... The cancer can in the long run spread... And after Radioactive Iodine treatment the cure is almost 100%. Also there are two tests that determine the need: A total body I.131 scan and Thyroglobulin levels in the blood. Is any of these are positive it is imperative that you get radioactive Iodine treatment. Actually it is not a torturous treatment...

How accurate are fn biopsies for thyroid? Had x2 complex cysts checked. Both came back normal. Mom had thyroid cancer. Still nervous.

Very. Complex cysts are seldom cancer and if they are not growing and two needle biopsies are okay I would not be concerned. You also have a right to see your pathology report; it won't be "normal" ("no pathology") if the pathologist who needled it felt a cyst, but will contain a benign diagnosis. Glad you are taking a proactive approach to your health.
Thyroid nodules. Are common, malignancy rare. There are hereditary medullary carcinoma syndromes (men2), but follicular and medullary are more common. Radioactice scans can discern hot or cold nodules, but fna's and these can miss cancer.
Generally accurate. Fine needle biopsies are generally, but not 100%, accurate. There is a gene test called affirma, that can by done at the same time as a thyroid biopsy and can improve the accuracy of the diagnosis. There are also blood tests (thyroglobulin) which can increase in some thyroid cancers. Check w/your endocrinologist.

Is it possible recurrence of thyroid cancer if thyroglobulin came back positive but antibodies are decreasing? Had full thyroidectomy 2 years ago.

Need an exam. Thyroglobulin is one of the markers used in follow up. A rise in the value would prompt you to see an Oncologist for a clinical exam, repeat the labs and if necessary order tests like a radio active scan depending on the type of thyroid cancer.
Recurrence. Rest assured. It is impossible to say you are cancer free, but that is likely. Here's why: the thyroglobulin level is unreliable because you have antibodies. The fact that the antibodies are decreasing can mean that thyroglobulin is decreasing. Antibodies can be a tumor marker surrogate. Continue to follow the antibody trend and get periodic neck ultrasounds.

I have a couple of 6mm lymp nodes and my mchc came back low on my blood test. Does one have to do with the other? I also had thyroid cancer last year.

Cannot say. Cannot say in your particular case, but generally, 6mm lymph nodes are not necessarily significant. MCHC low implies low iron, but can be wtih a chronic disease (active or recovering from cancer, among many many others). BUt could also theoretically be the beginning of a return of the cancer.

I have thyroid cancer been treated with rai been back on hormones 2 weeks still feel exhausted and weak could I be on wrong dose? Had thyroid removed

TSH<0.01. After treatment for thyroid ca, one will be prescribed thyroid hormone to suppress thyroid growth (there may be remaining microscopic tissue). The doses prescribed will usually be higher than for those who are just hypothyroid in order to get your TSH <0.01. It takes time to get there and you will feel tired in the meantime, but you should be there within 3 mos. See your endocrinologist.
Yes. You may have been given too low an amount but more likely it's not long enough to build up your levels. Should be at least 100 micrograms a day or higher. After 6 weeks doctors check to see if level needs adjusting. So it is quite early at only two weeks.
Energy level/ RAI. It can take a while for the dose of thyroid hormone needed to be determined. See your doctor, he will check the levels in your blood and adjust your medication if need be.

I have neck pain and 2 lumps on my neck could it be thyroid cancer? Also back pain and cough since october and done light nausea

Unlikley. Too many symptoms... Neck and back pain - highly unlikely to be anything serious and certainly not a common symptom of thyroid cancer. Cough? ... Could be anything - viral respiratory infection/allergies. Lumps: anything larger than 2cm or presence for more than 2 weeks should be checked - see your local ent.
Possible. You need to consult a physician. These issues may or may not be related. The neck lumps could simply be enlarged lymph nodes due to infection of the lungs (explaining the cough) or something more serious.