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Thyroid Cancer Surgery

In many cases, thyroid cancer is treated by removing all or part of the thyroid. Common surgical options for treating this type of cancer include total thyroidectomy and lobectomy (removal of one lobe). Almost all people who undergo surgery for thyroid cancer will need to take thyroid hormone pills to replace the natural hormone.

Thyroid Cancer Surgery: An Overview

Surgery is the most common treatment for thyroid cancer. Surgery may be used to remove all or part of the thyroid. The type of thyroid surgery performed will depend on factors such as:
 
 
Common surgical options for thyroid cancer include total thyroidectomy and lobectomy (removal of one lobe).
 
Total Thyroidectomy
Surgery to remove the entire thyroid is called a total thyroidectomy. The surgeon will remove the thyroid through an incision in the neck; the surgeon may also remove nearby lymph nodes. If the pathologist finds cancer cells in the lymph nodes, it means that the disease could spread to other parts of the body. In a small number of cases, the surgeon will remove other tissues in the neck that have been affected by the cancer.
 
Some patients who have a total thyroidectomy may also receive radioactive iodine or external radiation therapy.
 
(Click Radioactive Iodine for Thyroid Cancer or Radiation Treatment for Thyroid Cancer for more information about these forms of treatment for thyroid cancer.)
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