The thyroid is a small gland in the neck. The function of a gland is to secrete hormones. The thyroid secretes thyroid hormone, which drives your body's metabolism.
About Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer is a malignancy found within the thyroid gland. Symptoms may include:
- A lump, or nodule, in the neck
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Your doctor will ask for a complete medical history and will perform a thorough physical examination. Different diagnostic studies may be ordered, including imaging studies and lab tests. These may include:
- Blood tests - Your doctor may test for abnormal levels of thyroid hormone.
- Ultrasonography - Ultrasound uses sound waves that bounce off the body. The computer then interprets those images to create a picture. From the picture, your doctor can see if nodules are present, how big they are, and whether they are solid or filled with fluid.
- Fine-needle aspiration - For most patients, the doctor removes a sample of tissue from a thyroid nodule with a thin needle. A pathologist looks at the cells under a microscope to check for cancer. Sometimes, the doctor uses ultrasound to guide the needle through the nodule.
- Surgical biopsy - If a diagnosis cannot be made from the needle aspiration, the doctor may operate to remove the nodule. A pathologist then checks the tissue for cancer cells.
Our Endocrine Surgeons
Thyroid cancer is treated with surgery to remove the thyroid gland. Lymph nodes next to the thyroid may need to be removed as well. You may require treatment with radioactive iodine after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells.
Our endocrine surgeons work as part of a multidisciplinary team to diagnose and treat thyroid cancer. Washington Cancer Institute's Thyroid Institute is one of the most well respected thyroid treatment centers in the world. Our surgeons will work closely with your other doctors to make sure you receive the best possible treatment.
Thyroid Cancer Resources
Fighting cancer is not just about the medical treatments. It is also about managing other aspects of your life. MedStar Washington Hospital Center has many resources to help you and your family members manage your life during treatment. Some resources our patients use include:
- Referals to agencies with free services
- Cancer Support Services, including social workers, counselors, spiritual support, dieticians and other important resources
Recurrent Thyroid Tumors
Not all endocrine surgeons are willing to operate on recurrent thyroid tumors, which are tumors that have grown back after initial thyroid surgery. Because of our training and experience, we are confident in managing recurrent tumors. Learn more about surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
What is the recovery from thyroid surgery?
Most patients go home the day after surgery. One week after surgery, you will be seen by your surgeon to assess your healing progress. Most people return to work or their daily routines within two weeks after surgery. Learn more about postoperative visits.
For additional information, appointments or patient referrals, please contact us at 202-877-3158.
Where to go from here?Next Topic: Benign Thyroid Disease
Scroll to Top
Back to Home