Discover Treatment Options for Thyroid Cancer Surgery at the New York Sleep Sinus & Thyroid Surgery Center

Thyroid Cancer Treatment
TEL:646.943.7985310 14Th STREET, SIXTH FLOOR NEW YORK, NEW YORK, 10003FAX:212.979.4315

New York Thyroid Cancer Surgery and Treatment

While there are more than 30,000 new cases of thyroid cancer diagnosed every year in America, the vast majority of thyroid cancers are slow-growing cancers that can often be cured completely by surgery.  In most cases, patients won’t exhibit any symptoms of thyroid cancer in its early stages.  That’s why it’s so important to have your physician examine your neck for signs of lumps during your regular checkups.    While nearly all of these lumps (called thyroid nodules) will be benign, about 5% of all thyroid nodules prove to be cancerous.  Because it’s extremely difficult to distinguish between a benign or cancerous lump, it’s important to have all thyroid nodules checked out by a specialist. 

What are the symptoms of thyroid cancer?

In the early stages of the disease, there are often no symptoms evident.  In fact, most thyroid cancers are first noticed by physicians during regular check-ups and present as small, painless lumps in the neck.  However, depending on the type of cancer and the stage of the disease, other symptoms may include nodules (lumps) that can be felt or seen in the neck, a hoarse voice, chronic swollen lymph nodes, and difficulty in swallowing or breathing (during later stages). 

How is thyroid cancer diagnosed?

If you, or your doctor, suspect you may have thyroid cancer, you should make an appointment for a personal consultation with Dr. Shin.  Dr. Shin will perform a thorough physical examination, including a comprehensive medical history, and may order a series of screening tests to check for thyroid cancer.  Screening tests may include blood tests, ultrasound monitoring, radioactive iodine scanning, and biopsy. 

What is the prognosis for thyroid cancer?

In most cases, the prognosis will be excellent, with 90% of all thyroid cancers able to be completely cured by surgery.  Individual outcomes will depend on a number of factors, including the type of cancer, the size of the tumor, the age of the patient, and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the neck or distant areas of the body.  Dr. Shin will discuss your individual circumstances and answer any questions that you have about your treatment options and prognosis.

Types of Thyroid Cancer

Papillary Follicular Medullary Anaplastic
Most common (70% of all thyroid cancers) Common (25% of all thyroid cancers) Less common Rare
Most treatable, surgery can usually cure completely More aggressive than papillary, but still very treatable Can be hereditary or non-hereditary Very aggressive
More common in women Usually, surgery can cure completely Affects men and women equally More common in women
More common before age 40 More common in women Certain types can be cured by surgery; prognosis depends on type, size, and stage of tumor More common after age 60
Post surgery - ongoing monitoring and thyroid hormone medication More common after age 40 Post surgery - ongoing monitoring and occasionally radiation or chemotherapy Symptoms are usually noticeable early, including difficulty breathing and hoarseness
  Post surgery - ongoing monitoring and thyroid hormone medication Surgery at very earliest stages only; often inoperable

What are the treatments for thyroid cancer?

Treatment will depend on the type and stage of the cancer, but in most cases, surgery is the best initial treatment for thyroid cancer.  Surgery can include removal of all or part of the thyroid gland, as well as removal of any affected lymph nodes.  Ongoing monitoring is needed to detect any return of cancer, and often, thyroid hormone medication is prescribed.  In rare cases, radiation and chemotherapy may be indicated. 

What kind of recovery can I expect after thyroid surgery?

Most patients tolerate thyroid surgery very well, but individual recovery time will depend on many factors, including the age and overall health of the patient, the type and size of the tumor, and the extent of surgery necessary.  In many cases, patients can expect to be discharged from the hospital in one to two days, and be able to return to their normal activities within two weeks after thyroid surgery.  Dr. Shin will discuss your individual circumstances with you and answer any questions that you may have. 

Will I need to be on medication after thyroid surgery?

While treatment will naturally depend on individual circumstances, most patients will benefit from using thyroid hormone medication on a permanent basis after having all or part of the thyroid removed. 

Will my voice be the same after thyroid surgery?

Sometimes, the nerves that control the larynx (voice box) can be disturbed or damaged during thyroid surgery, resulting in a scratchy or hoarse sounding voice.  This condition is usually temporary, but on rare occasions, the damage can be permanent.  The risk of this complication decreases in the hands of skilled and experienced surgeons.  And, while the risks can never be totally eliminated, Dr. Shin uses an advanced intra-operative nerve monitoring system that can further minimize the risks. 

What is Intra-Operative Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Monitoring?

The recurrent laryngeal nerve supplies motor function and sensation to the larynx (voice box).  If the nerve is damaged or disturbed during surgery, voice function can be affected.  Intra-operative recurrent laryngeal nerve monitoring is an advanced technique that measures the electrical activity of the recurrent laryngeal nerve in order to monitor and preserve the nerve during thyroid surgery.  When the recurrent laryngeal nerve is successfully preserved, patients will have completely normal voice function after surgery in better than 99% of cases. 

How do I get more information about thyroid cancer and treatment?

Dr. Shin and his team will be happy to discuss thyroid cancer and treatments with you.  Please call 646.943.7985 to arrange for a private consultation or schedule an appointment online at our Manhattan office.