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Treatments for Thyroid cancer

Treatments for Thyroid cancer:

Most types of thyroid cancer are highly treatable and even curable. However, thyroid cancer has a high rate or recurring, which can happen many years after treatment. Thyroid cancer is most treatable and curable if caught in the earliest stage of the disease.

Treatment is individualized to the type and stage of advancement of the disease, a person's age, medical history, coexisting diseases and other factors. Treatment for thyroid cancer is delivered by a team of specialists in thyroid cancer care. These specialists can include medical oncologists, endocrinologists, surgeons, oncology nurses, registered dietician, and radiation oncologists.

Treatment of thyroid cancer may include a combination of surgery, radioactive iodine treatment, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Surgery generally includes removing most of the thyroid. Thyroid hormone replacement therapy is prescribed to replace the hormones that were produced by the thyroid.

Radioactive iodine treatment is performed for some types of thyroid cancer to destroy any remaining thyroid tissue and cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body. In other forms of thyroid cancer, external beam radiation therapy may be prescribed instead. In some cases of advanced thyroid cancer, chemotherapy may be prescribed as well. It may also be recommended that a person with thyroid cancer enroll in a clinical trial of new therapies and treatments for thyroid cancer.

For people whose thyroid cancer has metastasized and has become terminal, the goals of treatment generally may change. Treatment then shifts away from curing the disease and focuses on measures to keep a person comfortable and maximize the quality of life. This treatment may be administered through a hospice program.

Treatment List for Thyroid cancer

The list of treatments mentioned in various sources for Thyroid cancer includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.

  • Surgery
    • Total thyroidectomy
    • Lobectomy (thyroid)
    • Local lymph node removal
    • Parathyroid gland removal - often removed with the thyroid
  • Radiation
  • Hormone treatment - usually for papillary and follicular thyroid cancer.
    • Thyroid hormone pills - for hyothyroidism; needed after thyroid removal or thyroid treatment.
    • Anti-thyroid medications - for hyperthyroidism
  • Chemotherapy

Alternative Treatments for Thyroid cancer

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Thyroid cancer may include:

Thyroid cancer: Is the Diagnosis Correct?

The first step in getting correct treatment is to get a correct diagnosis. Differential diagnosis list for Thyroid cancer may include:

Hidden causes of Thyroid cancer may be incorrectly diagnosed:

Thyroid cancer: Marketplace Products, Discounts & Offers

Products, offers and promotion categories available for Thyroid cancer:

Thyroid cancer: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research all specialists including ratings, affiliations, and sanctions.

Drugs and Medications used to treat Thyroid cancer:

Note:You must always seek professional medical advice about any prescription drug, OTC drug, medication, treatment or change in treatment plans.

Some of the different medications used in the treatment of Thyroid cancer include:

  • Levothyroxine
  • Alti-Thyroxine
  • Armour Thyroid
  • Eltroxin
  • Euthroid
  • Euthyrox
  • Levo-T
  • Levotabs
  • Levothroid
  • Levoxine
  • Levoxyl
  • L-Thyroxine
  • Proloid
  • Synthroid
  • Synthrox
  • Syroxine
  • Thyroid USP
  • Thyrolar
  • Liothyronine
  • Cyronine
  • Cytomel
  • Thyrolar 1, , , 2, 3
  • Triostat
  • Sodium Iodide

Hospital statistics for Thyroid cancer:

These medical statistics relate to hospitals, hospitalization and Thyroid cancer:

  • 0.72% (91,298) of hospital episodes were for malignant neoplasms of thyroid and other endocrine glands in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 86% of hospital consultations for malignant neoplasms of thyroid and other endocrine glands required hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 40% of hospital episodes for malignant neoplasms of thyroid and other endocrine glands were for men in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 60% of hospital episodes for malignant neoplasms of thyroid and other endocrine glands were for women in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • more hospital information...»

Hospitals & Medical Clinics: Thyroid cancer

Research quality ratings and patient incidents/safety measures for hospitals and medical facilities in specialties related to Thyroid cancer:

Hospital & Clinic quality ratings »

Choosing the Best Treatment Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Thyroid cancer, on hospital and medical facility performance and surgical care quality:

Discussion of treatments for Thyroid cancer:

What You Need To Know About Thyroid Cancer: NCI (Excerpt)

People with thyroid cancer have many treatment options. Depending on the type and stage, thyroid cancer may be treated with surgery , radioactive iodine , hormone treatment , external radiation , or chemotherapy . Some patients receive a combination of treatments. (Source: excerpt from What You Need To Know About Thyroid Cancer: NCI)

What You Need To Know About Thyroid Cancer: NCI (Excerpt)

Surgery is the most common treatment for thyroid cancer. The surgeon may remove all or part of the thyroid. The type of surgery depends on the type and stage of thyroid cancer, the size of the nodule, and the patient's age.

  • Total thyroidectomy -- Surgery to remove the entire thyroid is called a total thyroidectomy. The surgeon removes the thyroid through an incision in the neck. Nearby lymph nodes are sometimes removed, too. If the pathologist finds cancer cells in the lymph nodes, it means that the disease could spread to other parts of the body. In a small number of cases, the surgeon removes other tissues in the neck that have been affected by the cancer. Some patients who have a total thyroidectomy also receive radioactive iodine or external radiation therapy .

  • Lobectomy -- Some patients with papillary or follicular thyroid cancer may be treated with lobectomy. The lobe with the cancerous nodule is removed. The surgeon also may remove part of the remaining thyroid tissue or nearby lymph nodes. Some patients who have a lobectomy receive radioactive iodine therapy or additional surgery to remove remaining thyroid tissue.

Nearly all patients who have part or all of the thyroid removed will take thyroid hormone pills to replace the natural hormone.

After the initial surgery, the doctor may need to operate on the neck again for thyroid cancer that has spread. Patients who have this surgery also may receive I-131 therapy or external radiation therapy to treat thyroid cancer that has spread.

These are some questions a person may want to ask the doctor before having surgery:

  • What kind of operation will I have?

  • How will I feel after the operation?

  • What will you do for me if I have pain?

  • How long will I be in the hospital?

  • Will I have any long-term effects?

  • When can I get back to my normal activities?

  • What will my scar look like?

  • What is my chance of a full recovery?

  • Will I need to take thyroid hormone pills?

  • How often will I need checkups?

Radioactive iodine therapy (also called radioiodine therapy) uses radioactive iodine (I-131) to destroy thyroid cancer cells anywhere in the body. The therapy usually is given by mouth (liquid or capsules) in a small dose that causes no problems for people who are allergic to iodine. The intestine absorbs the I-131, which flows through the bloodstream and collects in thyroid cells. Thyroid cancer cells remaining in the neck and those that have spread to other parts of the body are killed when they absorb I-131.

If the dose of I-131 is low enough, the patient usually receives I-131 as an outpatient. If the dose is high, the doctor may protect others from radiation exposure by isolating the patient in the hospital during the treatment. Most radiation is gone in a few days. Within 3 weeks, only traces of radioactive iodine remain in the body.

Patients with medullary thyroid cancer or anaplastic thyroid cancer generally do not receive I-131 treatment. These types of thyroid cancer rarely respond to I-131 therapy.

Hormone treatment after surgery is usually part of the treatment plan for papillary and follicular cancer. When a patient takes thyroid hormone pills, the growth of any remaining thyroid cancer cells slows down, which lowers the chance that the disease will return.

After surgery or I-131 therapy (which removes or destroys thyroid tissue), people with thyroid cancer may need to take thyroid hormone pills to replace the natural thyroid hormone.

People may want to ask these questions about radioactive iodine (I-131) therapy or hormone therapy:

  • Why do I need this treatment?

  • What will it do?

  • Will I need to stay in the hospital for this treatment?

  • Will it cause side effects? What can I do about them?

  • How long will I be on this treatment?

  • How often will I need checkups?

External radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. A large machine directs radiation at the neck or at parts of the body where the cancer has spread.

External radiation therapy is local therapy . It affects cancer cells only in the treated area. External radiation therapy is used mainly to treat people with advanced thyroid cancer that does not respond to radioactive iodine therapy. For external radiation therapy, patients go to the hospital or clinic, usually 5 days a week for several weeks. External radiation may also be used to relieve pain or other problems.

These are some questions a person may want to ask the doctor before having external radiation therapy:

  • Why do I need this treatment?

  • When will the treatments begin? When will they end?

  • How will I feel during therapy? Are there side effects?

  • What can I do to take care of myself during therapy?

  • How will we know if the radiation is working?

  • Will I be able to continue my normal activities during treatment?

  • How often will I need checkups?

Chemotherapy, the use of drugs to kill cancer cells, is sometimes used to treat thyroid cancer. Chemotherapy is known as systemic therapy because the drugs enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. For some patients, chemotherapy may be combined with external radiation therapy. (Source: excerpt from What You Need To Know About Thyroid Cancer: NCI)

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