Thyroid Cancer

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

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.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

Surgery may cause injury to nerves, tissues, and organs near your thyroid gland. After surgery, you may have trouble speaking, bleed more than expected, or get an infection. Treatment may cause many side effects, such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Even after treatment, the cancer may come back.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Medicine:

Thyroid replacement hormone is a medicine that will help bring your thyroid hormone level back to normal.

Tests:

  • Blood tests will show the levels of hormones made by your thyroid gland. They will also show the levels of hormones that stimulate your thyroid.

  • An ultrasound uses sound waves to show pictures of your thyroid on a monitor.

  • An x-ray, CT scan, or MRI takes pictures of your thyroid gland and neck. You may be given dye to help your thyroid show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.

  • A tissue biopsy is a procedure to remove a small amount of thyroid tissue. The sample will be sent to a lab to be tested for thyroid cancer.

  • A thyroid scan uses radioactive dye to show how well your thyroid is working.

Treatment:

  • Surgery is done to remove all or part of your thyroid gland. Your healthcare provider may also need to remove tissue or lymph nodes near your thyroid gland.

  • Radioactive iodine is given to damage cells in your thyroid. This may help to decrease thyroid hormone levels or to kill cancer cells.

  • Radiation therapy uses x-rays or gamma rays to treat cancer. Radiation kills cancer cells and may stop the cancer from spreading. It may be given with radioactive iodine therapy or after surgery to remove your thyroid.

© 2014 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 (Inpatient Care)

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