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What are the treatments for thyroid cancer?

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In brief: Treatment for thyroid cancer

The treatment for thyroid cancer depends on the type, size and stage of thyroid cancer you have.



Surgery
An operation to remove all or part of the thyroid gland is the most common treatment for thyroid cancer. This is called a thyroidectomy. Lymph glands near your thyroid gland may also be removed. The type of surgery you have will depend on how far the cancer has spread.


Radioactive iodine treatment
Most people will need to have radioactive iodine treatment after surgery. This is to make sure that all the cancer cells are destroyed. Radioactive iodine is swallowed as a drink or tablet or it can be injected into your body. The thyroid cancer cells take in the radioactive iodine and this kills them, without affecting other cells in your body.

This treatment is given in hospital and you may need to stay there for a few days in a single room. This is because you will remain slightly radioactive for a few days after the treatment and should limit the time you spend with other people.


External radiotherapy
Radiotherapy is a treatment to destroy cancer cells with radiation. A beam of radiation is targeted on the cancerous cells, and shrinks the tumour. It may be the first course of treatment for anaplastic thyroid cancer, or may be used along with radioiodine in other types of thyroid cancer. Radiotherapy can also be used to treat a tumour, or part of a tumour that can't be removed with surgery. Radiotherapy is given as a course of treatment over a number of weeks.


Chemotherapy medicines
Chemotherapy uses medicines to destroy cancer cells. It's not often used to treat thyroid cancer but may be used if the cancer has spread or comes back after other treatment.


If you have had surgery to remove your thyroid gland, or if you have had some of the other treatments for thyroid cancer, you will need to take hormone replacement medicines for life. This is to replace the hormones that would have naturally been in your body if your thyroid gland was working normally.

You should have regular check-ups with your doctor to make sure you are healthy and to spot any signs of the cancer returning.

In brief: Treatment for thyroid cancer

The treatment for thyroid cancer depends on the type, size and stage of thyroid cancer you have.



Surgery
An operation to remove all or part of the thyroid gland is the most common treatment for thyroid cancer. This is called a thyroidectomy. Lymph glands near your thyroid gland may also be removed. The type of surgery you have will depend on how far the cancer has spread.


Radioactive iodine treatment
Most people will need to have radioactive iodine treatment after surgery. This is to make sure that all the cancer cells are destroyed. Radioactive iodine is swallowed as a drink or tablet or it can be injected into your body. The thyroid cancer cells take in the radioactive iodine and this kills them, without affecting other cells in your body.

This treatment is given in hospital and you may need to stay there for a few days in a single room. This is because you will remain slightly radioactive for a few days after the treatment and should limit the time you spend with other people.


External radiotherapy
Radiotherapy is a treatment to destroy cancer cells with radiation. A beam of radiation is targeted on the cancerous cells, and shrinks the tumour. It may be the first course of treatment for anaplastic thyroid cancer, or may be used along with radioiodine in other types of thyroid cancer. Radiotherapy can also be used to treat a tumour, or part of a tumour that can't be removed with surgery. Radiotherapy is given as a course of treatment over a number of weeks.


Chemotherapy medicines
Chemotherapy uses medicines to destroy cancer cells. It's not often used to treat thyroid cancer but may be used if the cancer has spread or comes back after other treatment.


If you have had surgery to remove your thyroid gland, or if you have had some of the other treatments for thyroid cancer, you will need to take hormone replacement medicines for life. This is to replace the hormones that would have naturally been in your body if your thyroid gland was working normally.

You should have regular check-ups with your doctor to make sure you are healthy and to spot any signs of the cancer returning.
Quality HealthCare Team
Quality HealthCare Team
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