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Thyroid Cancer


Thyroid cancer begins in your thyroid gland. The cancer is usually found before it spreads to other organs or tissue. Your thyroid is a small, butterfly shaped gland in your neck. It makes hormones that help control your body temperature, heart rate, growth, and weight.



  • Thyroid replacement hormone will help bring your thyroid hormone level back to normal.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Call 911 for the following:

  • You have sudden shortness of breath.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your symptoms get worse.

  • Your voice becomes hoarse.

  • You have nausea or are vomiting.

  • You have new lumps in your neck.

  • You have trouble swallowing.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Follow up with your oncologist as directed:

You may need to return for more blood tests to check your thyroid hormone level. This will show if you are getting the right amount of thyroid medicine. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Do not smoke:

Smoking increases your risk for new or returning cancer. Smoking can also delay healing after treatment. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help quitting.

Limit or do not drink alcohol as directed:

Men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks per day. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink per day. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.

Eat healthy foods:

Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Include foods that are high in iodine, such as milk, seaweed, and turkey. Iodized salt is also a source of iodine. Ask your healthcare provider how much iodine you need each day, and which sources of iodine are best for you.

Drink liquids as directed:

Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Drink extra liquids to prevent dehydration. You will need to drink extra liquids if you are vomiting or have diarrhea from cancer treatments.

Exercise as directed:

Exercise can help increase your energy level. Ask your healthcare provider how much exercise you need and which exercises are best for you.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Thyroid Cancer (Discharge Care)