Thyroid cancer treatments include surgery, radioactive iodine, hormone therapy and chemotherapy, according to the American Cancer Society. Other treatment options include external beam radiation therapy and targeted therapy. Oncologists often recommend a combination of two or more treatment types to treat thyroid cancer.
Several factors influence treatment recommendations, including the type of thyroid cancer, the stage of the cancer at diagnosis, and the patient’s overall health and preferences, notes the American Cancer Society. Surgery is generally the first line of treatment for most thyroid cancers. Removing the thyroid gland via a total thyroidectomy is effective in treating tumors that have not spread beyond the thyroid gland. For small tumors, a lobectomy to remove just the part of the thyroid that contains the cancer may be all that is necessary.
Radioactive iodine treatment for early stage thyroid cancer is popular, according to the ACS. This treatment uses radioactive iodine to kill off thyroid cells, destroying the thyroid gland and any cancer found there. A combination of radioactive iodine treatment and surgery is an option for treating thyroid cancer, and radioactive iodine without surgery may be a main treatment for some cancers.
Combining surgery with chemotherapy, targeted therapy or external beam therapy is useful for treating thyroid cancer, notes the ACS. Additionally, thyroid hormone therapy given after treatment suppresses the growth of remaining cancer cells.