Treatment for thyroid cancer
The treatment you have for thyroid cancer will depend on the stage of the cancer and your general health. Surgery is usually the main treatment.
Treatment for thyroid papillary and follicular cancer depends on the stage of the cancer and your general health.
A team of specialists will meet to discuss the best possible treatment for you. This is called a multidisciplinary team (MDT).
Your cancer doctor or specialist nurse will explain the different treatments and their side effects. They will also talk to you about things to consider when making treatment decisions.
This information is about papillary and follicular cancer. Most people with follicular and papillary thyroid cancers are cured with treatment.
We understand that having treatment can be a difficult time for people. We're here to support you. If you want to talk, you can:
Surgery is usually the main treatment for most types of thyroid cancer. Your surgeon may advise you to have:
Your surgeon may advise you to have:
- all of the thyroid gland removed (total thyroidectomy)
- part of the thyroid gland removed (lobectomy or partial thyroidectomy).
Sometimes the surgeon will also remove the lymph nodes and tissue around the thyroid gland.
The type of operation you have will depend on the size of the cancer and your general health. Your surgeon or specialist nurse can talk to you about what to expect before and after your operation.
After thyroid surgery, you may need to take thyroid replacement therapy.
Your doctor may advise you to take thyroxine (levothyroxine) tablets. Thyroxine is a type of thyroid hormone (T4). It is given to:
- replace the thyroid hormones you no longer make if the thyroid gland has been removed
- reduce the risk of the cancer coming back after treatment.
Below is a sample of the sources used in our thyroid cancer information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at email@example.com
British Medical Journal. Best Practice Guidelines, Thyroid cancer. 2020.
European Society Medical Oncology (ESMO): Thyroid cancer, Clinical Practice Guidelines for Diagnosis, Treatment and Follow-up. 2019.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). TA535: Lenvatinib and Sorafenib for treating differentiated thyroid cancer after radioactive iodine. 2018. www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ta535 [accessed May 2021].
This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Professor Nick Reed, Consultant Clinical Oncologist.
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