NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Thyroid Cancer, Version 1.2017
Cancer stages and treatment
Your prognosis should be something that comes up
when discussing plans with your doctor. A prognostic
factor is something that affects or helps predict the
likely outcome of a disease. It is a prediction that
is based on many factors. A doctor considers your
personal traits like age, test results, and extent of
cancer when talking about survival (your prognosis).
For thyroid cancer, things like age, tumor type, and
cancer stage play an important role in prognosis.
Prognosis may be better for those patients younger
than age 40 years. Thyroid cancer also tends to be
slightly more aggressive in men but prognosis is
similar to women.
When cancer is diagnosed very late or keeps
progressing despite all treatment efforts, it may be
time to set some new goals. Fortunately, in thyroid
cancer this is uncommon. If it becomes clear that
cure is not possible, treatment becomes about
symptom relief and making the most of your time.
Sometimes a doctor may introduce hospice care as
an option. Hospice care may be started because you
aren’t interested in more cancer treatment, no other
cancer treatment is available, or you may be too sick
for cancer treatment. Hospice care allows you to
have the best quality of life possible. It includes both
physical and emotional care for people who are close
to the end of life. Care is given all day, every day of
the week. You can choose to have hospice care at
home or at a hospice center.
Your treatment team of doctors may include an
endocrinologist, radiologist, nuclear medicine
doctor, surgeon, radiation oncologist, and
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.
The cancer stage is based on how much the
cancer has grown and spread in the body.
The first treatment option is called primary
treatment and is usually surgery.
Follow-up care is needed after any cancer
treatment is finished.
For thyroid cancer, things like age, tumor type,
and cancer stage play an important role in
It may not always be life-threatening
but it is always life-altering and a