Thyroid Cancer Treatment Plan at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK)

This information explains your thyroid cancer treatment plan at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK).

Treatment for thyroid cancer is based on many factors related to your tumor. Your doctor will talk with you about a treatment plan that is right for you, and you will get more information about your treatments. 

Throughout your treatment, your care team may include a surgeon, a nuclear medicine doctor, and an endocrinologist (doctor who treats diseases that have to do with hormones). Your doctors will talk with you about how often you will come for visits, what tests you will have, and who will provide your care. These things depend on your specific treatment plan and they will change over time.

Initial Treatment

Usually, the initial treatment is surgery to remove your tumor. After surgery, you may also have radioactive iodine therapy. 

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Early Follow-up Care

After your initial treatment, you will continue to see your surgeon, endocrinologist, and nuclear medicine doctor. Over time, you will probably only need to see 1 of these specialists. You and your doctor will decide when that time is right for you.

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Ongoing Follow-up Care

After this early follow-up period, you may be eligible to join the Thyroid Cancer Survivorship Program. In the survivorship program, you will receive support as you recover from the physical and emotional effects of thyroid cancer and its treatments. Your doctor will help you decide when you’re ready for this step. 

A survivorship nurse practitioner (NP), who is an expert in the care of cancer survivors, will be responsible for your care in the survivorship program. Your survivorship NP is a member of the thyroid cancer team at MSK and works closely with your doctors. You will see your survivorship NP for your follow-up visits, which will include physical exams and tests to make sure your cancer hasn’t returned. Your survivorship NP will also recommend other cancer screenings as needed and talk with you about ways to prevent new health problems. 

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Transition to Your Local Doctor

After time, your follow-up care may be transferred from MSK to an endocrinologist in your community or your local primary care doctor. We can help you find an endocrinologist if you don’t already have one. This often occurs about 2 to 5 years after treatment, but the timing will depend on your particular thyroid cancer and your response to treatment. 

Your MSK doctor or survivorship NP will send your local doctor a detailed summary of your care at MSK, as well as copies of your test results. This report will also include our recommendations for future care based on the treatment you received. Your MSK doctor or survivorship NP will continue to be available to you and your local doctor if you have any questions about your care, or if you develop a new thyroid problem.

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