Treatments for thyroid cancer

If you have thyroid cancer, your healthcare team will create a treatment plan just for you. It will be based on your health and specific information about the cancer. When deciding which treatments to offer for thyroid cancer, your healthcare team will consider:

  • the type of thyroid cancer
  • the stage
  • the risk group
  • your age
  • your personal preferences

Expert review and references

  • American Society of Clinical Oncology. Thyroid Cancer. 2015: http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/thyroid-cancer/view-all.
  • Davidge-Pitts CJ, Thompson GB . Thyroid tumors. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015: 82:1175-1188.
  • Davidson BJ, Newkirk KA, Burman KD . Cancer of the thyroid and the parathyroid: general principles and management. Harrison LB, Sessions RB, Kies MS (eds.). Head and Neck Cancer: A Multidisciplinary Approach. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2014: 28A:779-824.
  • National Cancer Institute. Thyroid Cancer Treatment for Health Professionals (PDQ®). 2015: http://www.cancer.gov/types/thyroid/hp/thyroid-treatment-pdq.
  • National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Thyroid Carcinoma (Version 2.2015). http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp.
  • Sawka AM, Brierley JD, Ezzat S, Goldstein DP . Managing newly diagnosed thyroid cancer. CMAJ. 2014: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/186/4/269.full.

Treatments for differentiated thyroid cancer

Surgery is the first treatment for differentiated thyroid cancer. Learn about all treatments, including hormonal therapy and radioactive iodine therapy.

Treatments for poorly differentiated carcinoma

Surgery is the first treatment for poorly differentiated thyroid carcinoma. Learn about all treatments, including hormonal therapy and radioactive iodine.

Treatments for anaplastic carcinoma

Radiation and chemotherapy are common treatments for anaplastic carcinoma. Learn about treatments for anaplastic carcinoma, a type of thyroid cancer.

Treatments for medullary carcinoma

Surgery is the first treatment for most medullary carcinomas. Learn about all treatments for medullary carcinoma, a type of thyroid cancer.

Surgery for thyroid cancer

Surgery is the main treatment for most thyroid cancers. Learn about lobectomy, total thyroidectomy, neck dissection and surgery for advanced cancer.

Hormonal therapy for thyroid cancer

Hormonal therapy is a standard treatment for thyroid cancer after a total thyroidectomy. Learn about a hormonal therapy drug called levothyroxine.

Radiation therapy for thyroid cancer

Radiation therapy is commonly used to treat thyroid cancer. Learn about radioactive iodine therapy, or RAI, and external beam radiation.

Targeted therapy for thyroid cancer

Targeted therapy may be used to treat thyroid cancer. Learn about targeted therapy, including how and when it is used.

Chemotherapy for thyroid cancer

Chemotherapy is rarely used to treat thyroid cancer. Learn how and when chemotherapy is used and what chemotherapy drugs are used.

Follow-up after treatment for thyroid cancer

Learn about follow-up after thyroid cancer, including the schedule for follow-up appointments, and the tests and procedures that may be done.