Thyroid Cancer and Thyroid Surgery Resource
Thyroid cancer, thyroid nodules, and thyroid surgery by experts at the Clayman Thyroid Center and the Hospital for Endocrine Surgery.
ThyroidCancer.com is a comprehensive information source for all thyroid problems that may require surgery, with an emphasis on the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid cancer. We have detailed pages about thyroid nodules, thyroid tumors, thyroid goiters, thyroid surgery, Graves' disease, Hashimoto's disease, thyroid cancer surgery and more. This site is provided by the Clayman Thyroid Center and Dr Gary Clayman, one of the world's most experienced thyroid surgeons operating out of the new Hospital for Endocrine Surgery. Last updated: 05/30/2023
Thyroid cancer is one of the most common cancers, but most thyroid cancers are very curable if the proper treatment is given. For an overview of Thyroid Cancer, the different types, who is more likely to get it and the prognosis, see our overview page here.
The majority of this website discusses the different types of thyroid cancer, how thyroid cancer is diagnosed, and the different options for treating each of the thyroid cancer types. If you want the highest chance of being cured, it is very important you make the right choices from the beginning – including choosing an expert thyroid cancer surgeon.
We've divided this website into multiple sections specific to different thyroid cancers, thyroid diseases, and management. There is a lot of important information for you, so become an informed patient--they tent to do the best!
Have a Question?
We know that there is a lot of information on the site and it can be hard to take it all in. If you have a question for our surgeons or for our office, please contact us using this form and we'd be happy to help.
Types of Thyroid CancerStart here to get the overview on the different types of thyroid cancer. Each type of thyroid cancer has unique features that change the way the patient is treated. Each type has different requirements and very different outcomes.
- Papillary Thyroid Cancer. The most common thyroid cancer with the best outcomes.
- Follicular Thyroid Cancer. The second most common thyroid cancer with great outcomes.
- Hurthle Cell Thyroid Cancer. Less common, but a very good outcome of thyroid cancers if treated appropriately.
- Medullary Thyroid Cancer. A very rare type of thyroid cancer which also can be inherited in some individuals.
- Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer. A rare and very aggressive thyroid cancer.
Thyroid Surgery and Thyroid Cancer Surgery
Some Benign Thyroid Tumors (non-cancers) and almost all Thyroid cancer are treated with surgery. The amount of the thyroid removed and the size of the operation depends on condition of the thyroid gland, extent and size of the thyroid or thyroid tumor, whether there is involvement of lymph nodes or other sites, and the disorder of the thyroid or thyroid cancer. It is critically important that the thyroid surgery must be the right surgery, for the right patient, as well as for the right tumor (or cancer).
Thyroid Lobectomy. Removing half of the thyroid gland is appropriate for many thyroid cancers. See a video of thyroid lobectomy. A frequent surgery for benign tumors, follicular neoplasms, toxic thyroid nodules, and many thyroid cancers. The surgery is brief, usually lasting no more than twenty minutes and spares all parathyroid glands as well as all important nerves to the voice box (superior laryngeal nerve and its branches and recurrent laryngeal nerve and its branches). Even for larger tumors, the incision is small and cosmetically designed to be almost unnoticeable.
Total Thyroidectomy. Removing all of the thyroid gland is necessary for many thyroid cancers. A common thyroid surgery for goiters, Grave’s disease, and thyroid cancers with lymph node spread. The surgery is brief, usually lasting no more than thirty minutes and spares all four parathyroid glands and all the nerves to the voice box (both superior laryngeal nerves and their branches and recurrent laryngeal nerves and their branches). Even for larger tumors, the incision is small and cosmetically designed to be almost unnoticeable. Total removal of the thyroid gland should not be performed by inexperienced surgeons. The potential risks are just too great.
Extended Complicated Thyroidectomy. An uncommon surgical procedure that should only be performed by the most experienced thyroid surgeons. This type of surgery is only required in thyroid cancers that have grown into adjacent structures such as the nerves to the voice box (recurrent laryngeal nerve), breathing tube (trachea), swallowing tube (esophagus), or blood vessels.
Lymph Node Surgery. Operations for thyroid cancer can also include the removal of lymph nodes.
Modified Radical Neck Dissection. Removal of cancers which have invaded or involved muscular, vascular or soft tissue parts of the neck in the surgery for advanced/aggressive thyroid cancers. All other muscular, nerve, and vascular uninvolved structures are completely spared.
Re-Operations. Sometimes the first surgeon was not prepared for a thyroid cancer or all of the cancer was not completely appreciated in the initial evaluation of the thyroid cancer patient. Unfortunately, this happens quite frequently for a variety of reasons. First, expert evaluation is required of all patients prior to thyroid surgery, second most thyroid surgeons are quite inexperienced performing less than 100 operations per year, thirdly, nearly 50% of all patients with thyroid cancer will not know their diagnosis of thyroid cancer until following their initial operations. Therefore, often a second (or further subsequent) operation is required to achieve the best cure and control rates for thyroid cancer. As a patient, you cannot control the quality of your thyroid surgery, but you can choose the best thyroid surgeon to avoid obtaining the wrong or an incomplete thyroid surgery. Recurrent or persistent thyroid cancer surgery should only be accomplished by the most experienced of thyroid cancer surgeons. Occasional surgeons should not perform recurrent or persistent thyroid cancer surgeries or total removal of the thyroid gland.
What to read next
- Thyroid Cancer Overview - An introduction to thyroid cancer, what it is, and the prognosis of the different thyroid cancers.
- Thyroid Nodules - what are Thyroid Nodules and how are they treated (or not treated)?
- Types of Thyroid Cancer: Papillary, Follicular & Medullary.
- Surgery for Thyroid Cancer - learn about the different types of surgery and when they are appropriate.
- How to become our patient
Become our Patient! Every year, thousands of patients travel from around the US (and many foreign countries to have surgery at our Center in Tampa, Florida. We have done this so many times that we make it easy for you to make one trip to Tampa and get your evaluation and any necessary scans and biopsies and have your surgery in one trip. We communicate with your doctors back home--and will even find you an endocrinologists back home if you don't have one, so that you don't need to travel back to Tampa for a postoperative visit.
We have an entire page that explains the process of Becoming a Patient.