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Thyroid Cancer


Thyroid cancer overview

The thyroid is a gland in the base of your neck, right below your Adam's apple. It's shaped like a butterfly and produces hormones that regulate your body's temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and weight.

While thyroid cancer isn't a common disease, if you are diagnosed with it you are among the 45,000 people in the U.S. this year that are dealing with this condition according to the National Cancer Institute97. Luckily, with advances in cancer detection technology, more cases are being diagnosed at early stages that would previously have been missed.

Treating thyroid cancer

The first step to fighting any cancer is to work with your doctors to determine what kind of treatment is recommended for your particular case of thyroid cancer. Your doctor will factor in your health and medical preferences along with what type of thyroid cancer you have and what stage it is. In most cases, surgery is recommended.

Surgery options

Most people with thyroid cancer have a procedure to remove all or most of the thyroid (called thyroidectomy or near-total thyroidectomy). In addition, surgeons may remove enlarged lymph nodes from your neck and test them for cancer cells.

If you've already been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and your doctor has recommended surgery, you should gather as much information about the procedure as possible. Depending on how your surgeon performs the procedure, there may be options available that can reduce pain and scarring after the operation and may speed your recovery.

Talk to your Doctor

Talking with your doctor about thyroid cancer

If your doctor suspects that you may have a thyroid problem, you will likely be referred to a doctor (endocrinologist) who specializes in diseases of the endocrine system. It's important for you to learn as much about your condition and treatment options as possible, and your doctor is your best resource. Here are some questions for you to get the conversation started:

  • What type of thyroid cancer do I have?
  • What stage is my thyroid cancer?
  • What treatments do you recommend?
  • What are the benefits and risks of each treatment option?
  • Will I be able to work and do my usual activities during thyroid cancer treatment?
  • Should I seek a second opinion?

Thyroid cancer resources

Learn more about your condition and possible treatment options with these resources.

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