Surgery is the first and main treatment for thyroid cancer. Your doctor will use tissue removed during surgery to determine the cancer’s stage, which helps him or her decide on whether you need additional treatment. When you have surgery for thyroid cancer, your surgeon will try to remove the whole thyroid gland. This is called a total thyroidectomy. Sometimes, your doctor will remove only part of the thyroid. That is a near-total thyroidectomy. Surgeons today most often do total or near-total thyroidectomies.
Your surgeon also may remove the lymph nodes near the cancer if they have known cancer cells or look suspicious. That operation is called a neck dissection.
After surgery, you may need treatment with radioactive iodine. This can kill any remaining cancer cells. Plus, it’s likely that you will take thyroid replacement hormones after surgery.
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