Thyroid cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers in the United States, but also one of the most treatable.
While many people will develop a thyroid nodule at some time in their lives, most of them will be benign. Overall, only about 5 to 10 percent of thyroid nodules will be cancerous. In many cases, thyroid cancer will not cause symptoms early in the disease. As it grows, however, it may cause a lump in your neck, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing or breathing and swollen lymph nodes.
Approximately eight out of 10 thyroid cancers are papillary cancers. These cancers typically grow very slowly and develop in one or both sides of the thyroid gland. However, they can spread to other lymph nodes in the neck.
If you suspect that you have a thyroid nodule, you should make an appointment to see your primary care doctor for further evaluation. Many nodules cannot be felt, so you may need an ultrasound of your thyroid to evaluate it completely. You may also need a blood test to evaluate your thyroid hormone level. If you are found to have a nodule, you should be referred to a specialist for further evaluation and to determine whether additional testing or a biopsy should be done.
Consider Nebraska Medicine if you have a Thyroid Nodule or Thyroid Cancer
In many cases, thyroid cancer is curable with surgery. Surgery may involve removal of all or half of the thyroid. However, after surgery, some patients may require treatment with radioactive iodine to destroy any cancer cells that may have spread beyond the thyroid gland.
While thyroid cancer is highly treatable, the surgery to remove the thyroid can be complex. Because the thyroid is located on the trachea, or windpipe, and near the esophagus, surgical removal requires experience and training to perform this procedure without damaging these sensitive areas or the nerve that controls your vocal cords.
Among our staff of surgeons, Nebraska Medicine has one of the only endocrine-trained surgeons in that state. Studies reveal that thyroid surgery performed by highly-specialized and trained surgeons have the best outcomes.
Patients undergoing cancer treatment at Nebraska Medicine also have access to our 24/7 Infusion Center at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, which serves as both a treatment center and 24/7 urgent-care-type facility — a rare offering in the region.
Streamlined multidisciplinary approach
A multidisciplinary team of experts will collaborate on your case to provide a comprehensive team approach to your care. These experts may include surgeons, endocrinologists, radiation therapists, radiologists and medical oncologists. You can be seen by each member of our team who is involved in your case in one streamlined visit. Additionally, all imaging and biopsies can be performed at the same facility to provide a more comfortable and pleasant experience for you.
Where new discoveries are found
Many of our doctors are involved in research to help find and develop new treatments and cures. By receiving care at Nebraska Medicine, you will also have the opportunity to enroll in clinical trials for thyroid cancer, giving you early access to the latest advancements before they become available to the general public.
Accreditations and Awards
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska Blue Distinction Center+
Blue Distinction Centers and Blue Distinction Centers+ have a proven history of delivering exceptional care and results. Nebraska Medicine has received Blue Distinction in thyroid - medullary or anaplastic melanoma care.