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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Thyroid Cancer, Version 1.2017

Part 3 covers the stages of thyroid cancer.

Each stage tells the extent of cancer

in the body. This part of the book also

introduces you to the treatment options for

thyroid cancer. The cancer stage and type

of thyroid cancer help your doctors and

you make a treatment plan.

Treatment team

The next step of care involves a multidisciplinary

team of experts who have experience treating thyroid

cancer. Your treatment team of doctors may include

an endocrinologist, radiologist, nuclear medicine

doctor, surgeon, radiation oncologist, and medical


Your treatment team will come together and decide

on a treatment plan. This treatment plan will be

based on the type of thyroid cancer, extent of

cancer in your body, and your other health needs.

A treatment plan is a written course of action that

covers every stage of the treatment process.

Cancer stages

When it comes to thyroid cancer, your doctors want

to know if the cancer is only in the thyroid or if it

has gone beyond the thyroid into nearby or distant

areas. Cancer can stay in its original place or spread

to other areas in the body. When cancer spreads it

is called metastatic disease. That is why the results

of the blood tests, imaging tests, and biopsies are

important. The results help doctors determine if and

how far the cancer has spread.

The cancer stage is based on how much the cancer

has grown and spread in the body. The AJCC







ommittee on


ancer) staging

system is the one most often used for thyroid cancer.

In this system, there are four cancer stages based

on the growth and spread of the cancer. The different

types of thyroid cancer have different staging


These types include:



Differentiated, which has papillary and follicular

grouped together (separated by 45 years and

younger, or 45 years and older).



Hürthle cell grouped with follicular when it

comes to staging and treatment.



Medullary and anaplastic thyroid cancers each

have their own staging.

To see details on the thyroid cancer stages,


Guides 6 through 8

on pages 26 and 27


Once your doctors know more about your diagnosis

and stage, they can talk to you about what to expect.

Talking with your doctor about the type of thyroid

cancer and cancer stage can help with treatment

planning. Shared decision-making is a process in

which you and your doctors plan treatment together.

Shared decision-making is an important part of

your care. This communication between doctor and

patient can help you decide what care is best for you.


Cancer stages and treatment

Treatment team | Cancer stages

Helpful tips:


Keep a list of contact information

of all of your health care



Ask a caregiver to help you plan

your appointments.


Use a calendar or day planner to

keep track of your appointments.