Thyroid cancer treatment: Our approach
The experienced, highly trained endocrinology doctors with the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute offer patients the most advanced care and treatment options. Our team is dedicated to answering your questions and to working together with you and your family to develop the best treatment plan for you.
We take a multidisciplinary approach to your care by collaborating with other doctors you may see, including a thyroid oncologist when appropriate or any other specialist.
Options for thyroid cancer treatment depend on:
- The type of cancer and whether it has spread
- Whether it’s a new diagnosis or has returned
- The tumor’s size and stage
- Your age and general health
For the main type of thyroid cancer, earlier-stage tumors are treated with surgery—either removing one of the gland’s two lobes (lobectomy) and cancerous lymph nodes, or taking out all or most of the gland (thyroidectomy). When necessary, we use special monitoring to protect the nerve for the voice box (larynx) that passes under the thyroid.
Often, thyroid surgery is followed by drugs to prevent the production of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) or radiation delivered with radioactive iodine (RAI), swallowed and only absorbed by thyroid tissue. External radiation is sometimes used after surgery for more advanced thyroid cancer, and we offer clinical trials.
Patients who have had thyroid cancer are at risk of developing a second head or neck cancer, and our doctors also want to catch any original cancer that might return. After treatment, they will ask you to come in for regular checkups, as frequently as once a month for the first year.
Metastatic thyroid cancer to the bone: Our approach
Our endocrinologists are specially trained in treating thyroid cancer that has spread to the bone, called metastatic thyroid cancer to the bone. In collaboration with your other specialists, we generally recommend the following therapies:
- Medication, including thyroid hormone suppression
- External radiation therapy
- Radioactive iodine
- Use of dosimetry, an individualized approach to therapy
- Targeted agents, which are specially developed drugs to treat tumor growth
- Medications that help decrease the progression of bone metastases