Treatment options 

Following a diagnosis of thyroid cancer, your cancer care team will discuss the treatment options including the possibility of participating in a clinical trial that is suitable for you. This is also a good time to consider if you would like a second opinion.

The most suitable treatment for thyroid cancer depends on many things including:

  • size and location of the cancer

  • whether the cancer has spread

  • personal factors (e.g. age, general health and treatment history)

  • treatments available

  • your preferences for treatment.

Surgery is the main treatment for people with thyroid cancer. The aim of treatment is to surgically remove all thyroid cancer cells. Many people with thyroid cancer also receive radioactive iodine and thyroid hormone replacement. Some people will need other treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy. Adding another form of treatment is known as adjuvant therapy.

Radioactive iodine treatment is a form of internal radiation therapy, typically taken in a gel tablet form (with 1 to 3 days in hospital), to destroy any residual thyroid tissue and thyroid cancer cells left behind after surgery.

Thyroid hormone replacement therapy is needed in patients who have had all of their thyroid removed. This is to replace the thyroid hormone in the body and it may also slow the growth of any cancer cells to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.