Thyroid cancers usually respond well to surgery that removes the thyroid gland and any involved lymph nodes. Chemotherapy and radiation are usually not necessary. Follow-up therapy might involve treatment with radioactive iodine to destroy any remaining malignant cells and decrease recurrence of the disease. Thyroid medication is then used to prevent underactive thyroid function, known as hypothyroidism.
Although some people might experience symptoms of thyroid cancer, such as pain or swelling in the neck, or difficulty swallowing or breathing, most cases present without any symptoms. The initial sign might be a lump in the thyroid gland detected during a routine physical exam, or it might be an abnormal image of the thyroid detected when an MRI or CT of the chest or spine is performed for an unrelated reason. Nodules on the thyroid are overwhelmingly benign, with less than 15 percent being malignant. Diagnosis is confirmed with a combination of a detailed history, blood tests for hormone levels, imaging tests, and a fine-needle aspiration biopsy if necessary. These services are all available here through our office.
Also available at our office is additional monitoring with injections of Thyrogen®, a new thyroid-stimulating hormone, which helps to better detect recurring or leftover cancer cells, thereby resulting in better outcomes overall.