Mayo Clinic offers the latest treatment options for thyroid cancer. Treatment decisions are based on your needs. Two or more treatment therapies can be combined for some thyroid tumors.
- Surgery. Specialists at Mayo Clinic recommend near-total or total thyroid gland removal (thyroidectomy) when cancer cells are present. This ensures the best chance for survival and the lowest risk of recurring cancer. Your surgeon may also remove enlarged lymph nodes from your neck and test them for cancer cells.
- Robotic thyroid surgery. Robotic thyroidectomy may benefit certain individuals with small thyroid nodules who want to avoid a neck incision or who tend to form overgrown scar tissue (keloids). This procedure involves a high-resolution camera and robotic arms controlled by the surgeon using precise movements. An incision is made in the underarm area instead of the neck.
- Radioactive iodine treatment. Radioactive iodine treatment (radioiodine therapy) destroys thyroid tissue that may be left after thyroid surgery. This can limit the chance for cancer to recur. It can also be used to treat thyroid cancer that has spread beyond the thyroid gland.
- Thyroid hormone therapy. After a thyroidectomy, you will take a thyroid hormone replacement drug for the rest of your life.
- Alcohol ablation. Mayo Clinic doctors pioneered ultrasound-guided alcohol ablation treatment for recurring thyroid cancers. Alcohol ablation involves injecting small recurrent cancers with alcohol using imaging such as ultrasound to ensure precise placement. This treatment may kill recurrent tumor cells in regions that are difficult to reach surgically. Your doctor may recommend this treatment if you have recurrent thyroid cancer limited to small areas in your neck.
- Radiation therapy. Malignant thyroid tumors rarely require radiation therapy after surgery. It may be considered for treatment of inoperable tumors, for tumors that have spread and are causing symptoms, and when the risk of recurrence is high.
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is typically reserved for anaplastic thyroid cancer or for certain cases in which the thyroid cancer has spread.