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Thyroid Cancer

You’re in shock. You can’t believe it. How is this diagnosis possible?

Thyroid cancer is uncommon. We have the experts who treat it. 

Maybe it started with a small bump or swelling you felt in your throat one day. Or maybe the doctor felt it on a routine check-up. You think it’s not going to be much of anything, and then you hear that small bump is thyroid cancer.

Suddenly, everything comes to a shocking halt in your life because of the worry and confusion that accompany the news of such a diagnosis. What’s next? Will my life change? How serious is this diagnosis? We understand the questions and feelings you may have, and we’re here to treat not just your thyroid cancer but all of you ‒ with the compassion and support you need, and the expertise cancer requires.

We’ll help you understand your condition and provide information that can assist you in managing your care ‒ from navigating insurance issues to answering questions; from helping you keep track of your care with our cancer care planner to exploring your eligibility for clinical trials.

Every member of our cancer care team, including our expert endocrinologists, surgeons, oncologists and patient navigators, take personal interest in your healing journey.

Thyroid Cancer Basics Treatments and Procedures

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: What is thyroid cancer and what causes it?

    A: Thyroid cancer occurs when its cells mutate uncontrollably, allowing them to grow and multiply rapidly, forming a tumor. Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common type of thyroid cancer in the United States.  According to the National Cancer Institute, 80 percent of all thyroid cancer patients have this type, 15 percent have follicular thyroid cancer, three percent have medullary thyroid cancer and two percent have anaplastic thyroid cancer.

    There is no definitive cause of thyroid cancer. While risk factors have been related to it, such as age, gender (women are three times more likely to get thyroid cancer than men), family history and high exposure to radiation, not everyone who has these risk factors develops thyroid cancer, and people without these risk factors still can develop it.  For more information, you can read the American Cancer Society’s Do we know what causes thyroid cancer?
  • Q: Is thyroid cancer treatable?

    A:

    Most thyroid cancers can be treated successfully. The kind of treatment you’ll receive typically depends on the type of thyroid cancer you have, the size of the tumor, whether or not it has spread and your age.  

    There are several treatments for thyroid cancer. Most patients receive a combination among them, such as surgery and hormone treatment. Your doctor can discuss the available treatment options with you as well as expected results.

  • Q: Does OhioHealth treat thyroid cancer?

    A: We treat all stages of thyroid cancer. We provide patients who have thyroid cancer with the best care available, which can include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy. Your OhioHealth cancer care team will work closely with you to determine what treatment is best for your thyroid cancer condition.
  • Q: How serious is my thyroid cancer?

    A: We understand this is the biggest question for someone newly diagnosed with any cancer. The answer you’re looking for, however, is individual to you ‒ just as it is individual to other thyroid cancer patients ‒ and so cannot be generalized in an FAQ. 

    It’s important to talk to your doctor about the seriousness of your thyroid cancer with a friend or family member present to help you hear and remember the information your doctor shares with you. Ask your doctor to explain the stage your cancer is in and what that means for your treatment and recovery. Share with your doctor your fears and concerns. Ask for information about support groups.
  • Q: What are the different stages of thyroid cancer?

    A: Thyroid cancer is staged uniquely for the individual thyroid cancer types: papillary thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer, medullary thyroid cancer and anaplastic thyroid cancer. In addition, thyroid cancer is staged differently for papillary and follicular thyroid cancers depending if the patient is younger than or older than 45 years of age.  We recommend you consult the National Cancer Institute’s descriptions of the stages.
  • Q: What treatment options are available to me for thyroid cancer, and how will they affect my daily life?

    A:

    Your cancer care team will assess your thyroid cancer condition and determine the most appropriate option(s) for treating it. Those options may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and/or other therapies.

    Much will depend on what type of thyroid cancer you have ‒ papillary, follicular, medullary or anaplastic ‒ and the stage of it. Your cancer care team will talk you through the details of your treatment plan and also can explain at that time how it will affect your daily life.  To learn more about thyroid cancer treatments, turn to the National Cancer Institute’s thyroid treatment options by stage.

  • Q: Will surgery be part of my thyroid cancer treatment?

    A:

    It’s possible. Your treatment could include surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid. In addition, if the cancer has spread, surgery may be recommended to remove the cancer from those areas to which it has spread. Whether or not surgery will be considered as part of your treatment depends on the type and stage of your thyroid cancer, your health condition and other factors.

    Your doctor, as well as others on your OhioHealth Cancer Care Team, will work closely with you in determining the best treatment options for your cancer condition.

  • Q: Where do I find more information on thyroid cancer?

    A: There’s a lot of information about thyroid cancer on the Web and in bookstores. We recommend you start with the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute for their comprehensive expertise. From there you’ll find more resources.

Want more answers? Browse all of the OhioHealth cancer patient FAQs. General FAQ

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