Your treatment plan will be designed to meet the unique needs of every person. Your treatment team may include a surgeon, an endocrinologist, a radiation oncologist, and a medical oncologist. Your healthcare provider will consider the following factors when determining a treatment plan:
- Type of thyroid cancer
- Grade (well differentiated or poorly differentiated)
- Age of the patient
Depending on the type and stage of your thyroid cancer, you may need more than one type of treatment. Often, two or more treatment options are considered. It is important to take your time to consider each of your options. The goal of your treatment plan will be to keep your cancer from growing, spreading, or returning as soon as possible. If time allows, a second opinion may be beneficial to provide more information and help you feel more confident about your treatment plan you chose.
Typically, the first line of treatment for thyroid cancer is surgery. Depending on the factors above, there will be different surgical procedures that can be performed:
- This surgery consists of the removal of one lobe or side of the thyroid. It is typically used for small, localized tumours.
- Total thyroidectomy
- This surgery removes the entire thyroid gland. It is the most commonly used surgery for thyroid cancer.
- Neck dissection
- In addition to removing the gland, it involves removal of the lymph nodes and any other structures which may have been compromised.
- En bloc resection
- This surgery removes the tumour, thyroid, lymph nodes, and structures of the neck in one piece. This is done when the tumour is aggressive and invasive.
- This procedure is done to create an opening (stoma) in the trachea on the neck, in order to help with breathing. This is needed in cases where the cancer is pressing on or blocking the windpipe, making it difficult to breathe.Surgery will usually be the first line of treatment. There are many different options, depending on the factors above:
Other courses of treatment will include hormone therapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and in rare cases, chemotherapy.
Information taken from the Canadian Cancer Society.
For more information about treatment options:
Canadian Cancer Society A detailed overview of treatment options through the Canadian Cancer Society.
Thyroid Foundation of Canada With the assistance of Dr. Jack Wall she began the very first thyroid foundation in the world. A research fund was set up and educational material developed for patients on a wide range of thyroid topics.
Thyroid Cancer Canada Thyroid Cancer Canada is a national organization of thyroid cancer survivors dedicated to providing emotional support and information to those affected by the disease.