Papillary thyroid cancer, which accounts for about 80 percent of all thyroid cancer cases, is considered to be highly treatableLike most other malignancies, early detection is the key to a positive outcome.
Papillary thyroid cancer surgery
Papillary thyroid cancer treatment usually begins – and sometimes ends – with surgery. One surgery is often all that is necessary to eliminate the cancer. Most patients receive a total thyroidectomy, which involves the complete removal of the thyroid and sometimes the surrounding lymph nodes. Patients who have a small tumor (nodule) that is confined to the thyroid gland may be a candidate for a lobectomy, a less invasive procedure that involves the removal of one half of the thyroid.
Other treatments for papillary thyroid cancer
Nonsurgical treatments may also be recommended depending on the outcome of surgery and how far the cancer has traveled throughout body. Common approaches include:
- Radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy – This form of internal radiation therapy, which involves swallowing a special type of iodine in capsule form, may be recommended to patients with cancer that has spread beyond the thyroid.
- External beam radiation therapy – Patients who have aggressive or widespread thyroid cancer may be a candidate for external radiation treatment, which uses high-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells.
- Ethanol ablation – Performed under ultrasound guidance for selected patients. This treatment involves injecting a small amount of alcohol into a thyroid tumor to help destroy the cancerous cells. Active surveillance approach may to taken if a thyroid tumor is very small and does not cause symptoms. This treatment is only available for some benign thyroid nodules/cysts and metastatic lymph nodes. Please consult with your physician.
Our approach to papillary thyroid cancer treatment
Individuals who visit Moffitt Cancer Center’s Thyroid Clinic for papillary thyroid cancer treatment benefit from the combined expertise of multiple specialists in one location. Our team includes head and neck surgeons, endocrinologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, nuclear medicine specialists, geneticists and other experts who focus exclusively on thyroid disorders and collaborate to design an individualized treatment plan for each patient. What’s more, we are actively pursuing breakthroughs in thyroid cancer treatment through our ambitious research initiatives and clinical trials program, which allow our patients to benefit from the latest therapies, such as new surgical approaches and chemotherapy combinations, before those options are made widely available. Our efforts have resulted in a Comprehensive Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute, and we are the only Florida-based cancer center to hold this distinction.