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Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma


  • Papillary thyroid carcinoma is also called PTC. It is a kind of tumor (abnormal growth) found in your thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped organ in the front area of your neck. The tumor grows from the follicular cells of your thyroid gland. These cells make thyroid hormones (special chemicals) that control how your body uses energy. When the cells grow and split without control or order, they often make too much tissue (tumor). You may be able to feel the tumor with your fingers and it may grow. The tumor may also be painless and you may not know it is there.
  • The cause of PTC may be inherited, or the cause may be unknown. You may have neck lumps, shortness of breath, bone pain, or trouble swallowing. Blood tests, genetic screening, biopsy, and imaging tests may be done to check for PTC. Imaging tests include computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) scan, thyroid scan, and ultrasound. You may be treated with surgery, medicines, and radiation therapy. With treatment, your symptoms may be relieved and your PTC may be cured.


Take your medicine as directed.

Call your primary 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.

Follow-up visit information:

You will need to have blood and imaging tests done after surgery. Blood tests are done to measure the amount of hormones and other chemicals in your blood. Imaging tests may help your caregiver check if your tumor has returned. Ask your caregiver when to come back and how often you need blood and imaging tests done. Keep all appointments. Write down any questions you may have. This way you will remember to ask these questions during your next visit.

Radiation therapy:

This may include external beam radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses x-rays or gamma rays to control bleeding, and shrink your tumor. It keeps cancer cells from splitting into new cells, which is one way cancer spreads. Lymph nodes with cancer are also treated with radiation. It may be given after surgery to kill the cancer cells that were not removed. Ask your caregiver for more information about external beam radiation therapy.

Thyroid remnant ablation:

This procedure uses radioactive iodine to destroy thyroid tissues left in your neck. Ask your caregiver for information on this procedure.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have a hoarse voice.
  • You have nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up).
  • You have new lumps on your neck.
  • You have trouble swallowing.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition, treatment, or care.


  • You suddenly have trouble breathing.
  • Your symptoms get worse or do not go away after taking medicine.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma (Discharge Care)

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