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Thyroid UK
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Thyroid cancer follow up

several months ago I had my whole thyroid removed and it was cancer. I did not for various reasons have the follow up radioactive pill. I was thinking of getting that in June when I get onto Medicare. Question is do I really need to? How likely is the can of this type papilary cancer to spread? Also will the scan they do after the radioactive pill show if it has spread to other parts of the body? I would rather not have the pill and the isolation etc. if I don't have to.

I have had no tests or follow up since the surgery do to ins. issues. I will be going to see a new endocrinologist in June.

thank you

2 Replies

Hi, I had my whole Thyroid removed in Oct 2015 the nodule measured 4 cm . Only one fifth of the nodule contained papillary cancer. I was told to keep my TSH suppressed and had a scan after one year. I think that it depends on the surgeon and the amount of cancerous tissue. I am doing fine on NDT.


I had thyroid cancer 4 years ago, and did go in for RAI. I agreed to have it on the basis it would mop up any stray cancer cells, but once I got into the nuclear medicine department no one thought for one second that I had any cancer cells remaining. Their goal was just to entirely destroy my thyroid. I haven't done any extra research on this, so don't really know anything :p

It also maybe depends what your histology report says, mine says that cells were trying to escape, but didn't have evidence any had actually escaped. But also wanted it is taken from a sample of the tumour, not the whole thing, so there could be escapees who hadn't been in the sample. If yours was less aggressive that again points to less need to have it.

I have met people who have had a reoccurance of cancer elsewhere, so it can happen. But I also didn't quiz them on exactly what cancer they'd had or their treatment.

It took a long time for my RAI treatment to complete, 9 months in total. That's because I had a treatment dose, then wait 3 months and have a scanning dose. Mine showed up there was thyroid tissue present, so I had a 2nd scanning dose. In all that time no one really cared what thyroid replacement I was on as it was all temporary, and I was off work. So was everyone else I met in the waiting rooms.

If you dont have it, you won't have the comfort of the thyroglobulin blood test. If you're completely thyroid free, without one single cell remaining, the test will tell you if you have a thyroid cancer developing in your body. This was the thing that really persuaded me to have it. But I also fear it may have been over sold to me, and that other simple blood tests exist to determine if you have cancer.


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