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.
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.
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
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
Keep a list of contact information
of all of your health care
Ask a caregiver to help you plan
Use a calendar or day planner to
keep track of your appointments.