After thyroid cancer treatment
What follow-up do I need?
No matter what type of cancer treatment you have, you will still need to go for regular check-ups once it is over. This is called follow-up. At first these visits to your doctor will be quite often, but gradually become less frequent. If you receive radioiodine, you will see your doctor every 3 months. You may need yearly check-ups if the risk of cancer coming back is low, and every 6-12 months if the risk is higher.
Thyroid cancer surveillance
An important part of your follow-up is called thyroid cancer surveillance. This check-up takes place about 9 months to 1 year after your treatment. You may have some or all of these tests:
- Blood tests, including thyroglobulin
- Ultrasound scan of your neck
- Injection of the hormone Thyrogen®
- A full body scan using radioiodine thyroglobulin
These tests are to check that your thyroid and the hormones in your blood are normal and there is no sign of cancer. Your medical team will explain the tests to you and how they work. If you want more information ask your specialist nurse. You can also talk to one of our cancer nurses by visiting a Daffodil Centre or calling our Support Line on 1800 200 700.
If you are between check-ups and have a symptom or problem that is worrying you, contact your doctor or specialist nurse for advice and to make an appointment, if necessary.
If you become suddenly unwell and can’t contact your specialist nurse or hospital team, go to your GP or the emergency department at the hospital.
What if the cancer comes back?
If the cancer comes back in the thyroid or somewhere else, you can still have treatment.
You might have more radioiodine therapy, surgery or hormone therapy.
Read more: Why does cancer come back after treatment?
Metastatic thyroid cancer
If the cancer has spread to other parts of your body (metastatic) after treatment, TSH suppression, surgery, external radiotherapy, chemotherapy or biological therapies might also be considered. These biological therapies or targeted therapies may be given as part of a clinical trial. The aim of treatment here is usually to control the cancer rather than cure it.
Feelings after treatment
It can take some time to come to terms with a cancer diagnosis, even after your treatment has ended. Read about feelings after treatment and where to get support.
Living a healthy lifestyle
Many people want to focus on living a healthy lifestyle after a cancer diagnosis. Get some advice on healthy living here.
For more information
1800 200 700