Thyroid cancer treatment and diagnosis

Thyroid cancer is uncommon. It’s more likely to affect people in their 30s or over the age of 60, and is much more common in women than in men. It can be treated, but sometimes comes back.

 

What is thyroid cancer?

Thyroid cancer affects the small gland at the base of the neck. The job of the gland is to produce hormones that help control your metabolic rate and the amount of calcium in your blood.

There are four main types of thyroid cancer. The most common, and easiest to treat, is papillary carcinoma. Other types include:

  • Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma
  • Follicular carcinoma
  • Medullary thyroid carcinoma

 

Causes of thyroid cancer

The exact cause of thyroid cancer is not yet known. You’re more at risk if you:

  • Are very overweight
  • Have a bowel condition called familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
  • Have a condition called acromegaly where the body makes too much growth hormone
  • Have a family history of thyroid cancer
  • Have other thyroid conditions such as an inflamed thyroid
  • Were exposed to radiation such as radiation therapy when you were a child

Symptoms of thyroid cancer

A constantly sore throat

A painless lump in the neck that may grow quickly

A persistently hoarse voice

Breathing difficulties

Swollen glands in the neck

Trouble swallowing

Having some of these symptoms doesn’t mean you have thyroid cancer. They might be a sign of something less serious but if you’re worried, arrange to see your doctor.

Tests and diagnosis

Your doctor will discuss your symptoms with you. They may arrange for some tests such as:

  • A blood test
  • Ultrasound scan
  • Biopsy – a tiny sample of tissue is removed for analysis
  • CT scan (if the biopsy shows the lump is cancerous)
  • MRI scan

Treatments we offer

Treatments for thyroid cancer include surgery, radioactive iodine, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Your specialist doctor will discuss the options with you.

Radiotherapy kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

Read more

Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

Read more

Radiotherapy kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

Read more

Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

Read more

Meet our doctors

Our-doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

Search for a centre near you

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Birmingham

Little Aston Hall Drive, Sutton Coldfield, B74 3BF

+44 (0)121 514 1185

Bristol

300 Park Avenue, Aztec West, Bristol, BS32 4SY

+44 (0)1454 642801

Cambridge

Fordham Rd, Newmarket CB8 7XN, UK

+44 (0)1223 633 664

Chelmsford

Springfield Cancer Centre, Lawn Lane, Chelmsford, CM1 7GU

+44 (0)1245 676 351

Cromwell Hospital

164-178 Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London SW5 0TU, UK

+44 (0)203 613 9355

Elstree

Unit 710, Centennial Park, Centennial Avenue, Elstree, Borehamwood, WD6 3SZ

+44 (0)203 613 9356

Guildford

BMI St Martha Oncology Centre, 46 Harvey Road, Guildford, GU1 3LX

+44 (0)1483 676 898

Maidstone

17 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, ME19 4UA

+44 (0)1732 386 599

Milton Keynes

Sunrise Parkway, Linford Wood East, Milton Keynes, MK14 6LS

+44 (0)1908 448 166

Nottingham

The Park Centre for oncology, Sherwood Lodge Drive, Burntstump Country Park, Nottingham, NG5 8RX

+44 (0)1156 762 989

Oxford

Peters Way, Sandy Lane West, Oxford, OX4 6LB

+44 (0)1865 224 884

Portsmouth

Bartons Road, Havant, PO9 5NA

+44 (0)23 9280 0102

Southampton

Spire Hospital, Chalybeate Close, Southampton, SO16 6UY

+44 (0)238 008 5138

Windsor

69 Alma Road, Windsor, SL4 3HD

+44 (0)1753 465 493