Consumer Health: Treating thyroid cancer

a medical illustration of thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck. Your thyroid produces hormones that regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight.

There may be no signs or symptoms early in the disease. As thyroid cancer grows, it may cause pain and swollen lymph nodes; difficulty swallowing; and changes to your voice, including increasing hoarseness.

Most thyroid cancers can be cured with treatment. Your treatment options will depend on the type and stage of your thyroid cancer, your overall health, and your preferences.

Small thyroid cancers that have a low risk of spreading in the body might not need treatment right away. Instead, you may consider active surveillance with frequent monitoring of the cancer.

Most people with thyroid cancer needing treatment undergo surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid gland. In addition, your health care provider may recommend hormone therapy, radioactive iodine treatment, radiation and chemotherapy.

Learn more about the options for treating thyroid cancer.

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