Thyroid Cancer Treatment Plan at 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 develop a treatment plan that is right for you, and you will receive detailed information about your treatments. 

Throughout your treatment, your care team may include a surgeon, a nuclear medicine doctor, and an endocrinologist. How often you come for visits, what testing you have, and who provides your care will all depend on your individual needs. These needs will change over time.

Initial Treatment

In most cases, you will first have 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 one 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 are ready for this step. 

A 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. He or she will see you for your follow-up visits, which will include physical exams and tests to make sure your cancer has not returned. Your NP will also recommend other cancer screenings and discuss ways to prevent new health problems. 

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Transition to Community-based Care

As your needs decrease, your follow-up care may be transferred from MSK to an endocrinologist in your community. We will help you find an endocrinologist if you do not 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 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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