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Posts: 19
Joined: Dec 2004

Hi all! I had a total thyroidectomy with 7 nodes removed, 3 which were cancerous, pappilary/differentiary ;in 95.Followed by 101 MC of I-131 I had 3 scans in approx 4 yrs, all which were clear. Well, I must say, I have 'slacked off' a bit in going to my Endo. only went about 3 times since then. Anyone know how often you need to go for scans AFTER the 5 yr mark? thanks in advance! :)

Rustifox's picture
Posts: 120
Joined: Mar 2005

Hi, Karen
It is essential that you follow up at least once a year - not necessarily with a scan, but at the very least with a thyroglobulin blood test, and an ultrasound.

Unlike some cancers, the 5 year mark doesn't give us a 'likely free and clear forever' ticket. Thyroid cancer is known to reoccur 5-10 or even 20 years later - and recurrences are more difficult battles than the first round in most cases, and the longer any recurrence is left unattended, the more serious it gets.

Annual checkups with your endo are an important part of your long term safety. Many endos will only scan every 3-5 years after a certain point - but the thyroglobulin blood test, and an ultrasound by a technician with experience in thyroid cancer/thyroidless necks and lymph nodes is super important to keep up with.

For follow up recommendations/gold standards, these documents are both helpful:
If this one says 'no access', just click on 'home' at this site, then try to access the document again:

Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2007

Karen - I was diagnosed in 2001 with papillary and follicular cancer. The mass was 4cm. - tennis ball size and I had I-131. I now have a recurrence of the cancer almost 6 years later. Don't miss your yearly exams - it can come back.

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