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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Thyroid Cancer, Version 1.2017


prognostic factor

Something that affects or helps predict the likely outcome of

a disease.


The growth or spread of cancer after being tested or treated.

radiation oncologist

A doctor who is an expert in radiation therapy to treat


radiation therapy

The use of radiation to treat cancer.

radiofrequency ablation

Treatment that kills cancer cells with heat.

radioactive iodine (RAI) imaging

Low doses of radioactive iodine used for a test. This may be

a scan of the thyroid or whole body done before, during, or

after treatment. Also known as RAI imaging, 131I imaging,

or thyroid scan.

radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy

Treatment using radioactive iodine to kill thyroid cancer cells

in the body. Larger doses are used for therapy.


Radioactive iodine used in tests or treatment for thyroid

disease or other cancers.


A doctor who is an expert in reading imaging tests.


A substance that releases a small amount of radiation.


The return of cancer after a disease-free period.

regional anesthesia

A type of drug used for short-term loss of feeling or

awareness in a part of the body without loss of wakefulness.


A drug that helps a person to relax or go to sleep.

side effect

An unplanned physical or emotional response to treatment.

solid nodule

A small mass of tissue with high density.

stable disease

Cancer that is not getting worse or better in terms of its


stem cell transplant

A cancer treatment that destroys bone marrow then

replaces it by adding healthy blood stem cells.


A drug used to reduce redness, swelling, and pain, but also

to kill cancer cells.

supportive care

Treatment for the symptoms or health conditions caused by

cancer or cancer treatment. Also called palliative care.


An operation to remove or repair a part of the body.


Follow-up testing that is done after treatment ends to look

for new tumors.


A physical sign or patient report of a health condition.

systemic therapy

Drugs that are used to treat cancer cells throughout the


targeted therapy

Drugs that stop the growth process that is specific to cancer


thyroglobulin (Tg)

A protein made by the thyroid that can be measured after

treatment (surgery) and during follow-up care.


Surgery to remove the whole thyroid gland.

thyroid gland

A gland located in the throat, just beneath the voice box.

thyroid isthmus

Thin part of thyroid gland that connects the left and right


thyroid replacement hormone therapy

Therapy given to replace the thyroid hormone. It is no longer

being made by the thyroid gland since it has been removed.

thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)

A hormone made by the pituitary gland. It tells the thyroid to

make thyroid hormones.

treatment plan

A written course of action through cancer treatment and