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papillary Cancer of the Thyroid

Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2004

My Mom has just been diagnosed with papillary C of the Thyroid. She has been on Synthroid for years and is very healthy other than this problem that has come up now. She just took a chest xray two days ago which came out normal. We are now awaiting results of an MRI. To my understanding and with my own research papillary is the most common and is very treatable. Our doctor did say that is it very very slow growing and that eventually she will have to have her thyroid out. We know this. Also I read that it is uncommon for the papillary thyroid cancer to spread to distant locations. My question is how is this treated after the thyroid is removed. Also do they ever use chemotherapy for this? Mom is fine and healthy, no large lumps protruding from the neck, no pain in the throat area or anywhere and eats normally and acts normally. So at least she is healthy enough to go through this surgery when it does happen. Can anyone tell me anything else about this type of cancer and what else to expect. I thank you in advance... JOTOJULTOR

Rustifox's picture
Posts: 110
Joined: Mar 2005

You are correct that the prognosis for thyroid cancer is generally very positive - part of the reason for this is we are often treated with radioactive iodine - our very own cross between radiation, and chemo for thyroids. Most thyroid tissues, benign or malignant (providing they have not mutated) have the unique ability to "suck up" iodine - making radioactive iodine treatment the best possible follow up after surgery. Even the very best surgeons will not eliminate all thyroid tissue(s), so a treatment or ablation dose of radioactive iodine usually follows surgery - but it is very, very important to use a surgeon with extensive experience in thyroid cancer - you may want to look on this website, and search for thyroid cancer specialists in your area:

Here is a good site which describes the treatment processes in patient friendly terms:

And these ones are very detailed, with clinical details (more directed toward health professionals):


Here are the 2005 clinical guidelines from NCCN:

Hope these help a bit. All the best to your Mom... and it will be a very real advantage if someone in the family takes the time to understand what she is going through. The hormone/replacement thyroid hormone issues can be significant for us, both during withdrawal from hormones for testing or treatments, and trying to balance the synthetic replacement hormones, to suppress any further cancer growth between tests. The thyroid is kind of the "furnace" for the speed of metabolism, thinking, etc - it can be a significant process, and support within the family can truly mean alot.

Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2005

Had papillary throid cancer 26 years ago. Surgery then Iodine 131 ablation, orally, to destroy cancer tissue. Very effective. No other tretment required. Local type of tumor, doesn't usually spread. Synthroid daily for life after. Piece of cake cancer. Don't worry about this one. Know other long term survivor, 40 years.

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