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Once thyroid cancer has been diagnosed and staged, your oncologist may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
Surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid is the main treatment for most people with thyroid cancer. Surgical options include:
- Total Thyroidectomy: Your surgeon removes your entire thyroid gland.
- Near-Total Thyroidectomy: Your surgeon removes all except for a small part of your thyroid.
- Lobectomy: Your surgeon removes the lobe (side of the thyroid) containing the cancer.
- Neck Dissection (Lymphadenectomy): Your surgeon also removes the lymph nodes in the neck, if the cancer has spread.
Methodist Center for Minimally Invasive Skull Base & Brain Surgery
Tumors of the head and neck lie in a complex area surrounded by vital neurologic and vascular structures. The complexities of this area require a highly skilled, multidisciplinary team of physicians, each with his or her own area of expertise, for the best possible patient outcome.
The team approach at Methodist Center for Minimally Invasive Skull Base and Brain Surgery includes neurosurgery and otolaryngology (head and neck surgery), and surgeons who frequently perform these complex procedures.
Radioactive Iodine (Radioiodine) Therapy
Radioactive iodine (I-131) therapy kills thyroid cancer cells and normal thyroid cells that remain in the body after surgery. You are given either a liquid or capsule to swallow. The radioactive iodine goes into your bloodstream and finds and destroys thyroid cancer cells throughout the body. Some people receive this therapy in a clinic or in the outpatient area of a hospital and go home afterwards; others may be hospitalized for the treatment. Iodine is used because thyroid cells are the only cells in the body that absorb it.
Thyroid Hormone Treatment
After surgery to remove all or part of your thyroid, you will need to take pills to replace the natural thyroid hormone that is no longer being produced because of therapy but is essential to your body functioning properly.
External Radiation Therapy
External radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells in a targeted area. The radiation is delivered by a carefully focused beam from a machine outside the body.
External radiation therapy is typically only used on thyroid cancers that cannot be treated with surgery or radioactive iodine therapy. It is usually given 5 days a week for about 6 weeks as outpatient therapy.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. While seldom helpful for most types of thyroid cancer, it is sometimes used to treat anaplastic thyroid cancer, in combination with external beam radiation, or for advanced thyroid cancer that is not responding to other treatments. Chemotherapy may be given in pill form or in liquid form into your vein. The drug enters the bloodstream and circulates throughout the body to destroy the cancer cells. There are newer “targeted” oral chemotherapy agents that are being studied in use for thyroid cancer and will be discussed with you by your oncologist. This is especially true for medullary thyroid cancer.
Learn more about thyroid cancer:
- About Thyroid Cancer
- Diagnosing Thyroid Cancer
- Thyroid Cancer Resources
- Thyroid Cancer Clinical Trials
For more information about thyroid cancer treatment at the Methodist Cancer Center or to make an appointment, call us at 713-790-2700.