After surgery, you may need
treatment with radioactive iodine to destroy any remaining thyroid tissue. When
you no longer have all or part of your thyroid gland, you will probably need to
take thyroid hormone medicines for the rest of your life. These medicines
replace necessary hormones that are normally made by the thyroid gland and
prevent you from having
hypothyroidism—too little thyroid hormone.
Surgery to remove the part of the
thyroid gland that contains cancer. Removing one part (lobe) is called a
lobectomy. Removing both lobes is called a total thyroidectomy.
Removing all but a very small part of the thyroid is called a near-total thyroidectomy. Lymph nodes may also be removed during
Radioactive iodine, which is used after surgery to
destroy any remaining thyroid tissue. After you have your thyroid surgically
removed, you may have to wait several weeks before having radioactive iodine
treatment to destroy any remaining thyroid tissue. During the waiting period,
you may have symptoms of hypothyroidism such as fatigue, weakness, weight gain,
depression, memory problems, or constipation.
After treatment for
thyroid cancer, you may need to take
thyroid hormone medicine for the rest of your life to
replace the hormones that your body no longer makes. You will also need
follow-up visits with your doctor every 6 to 12 months. In addition to
scheduling regular visits, be sure to call your doctor if you notice another
lump in your neck or if you have trouble breathing or swallowing.