Active surveillance for thyroid cancer
In some cases, your doctor may recommend closely monitoring the cancer, rather than having treatment straightaway. This approach is known as active surveillance. It usually involves regular ultrasounds and physical examinations.
There is good evidence that active surveillance is safe for small papillary thyroid cancers where there is no sign that the cancer has spread from the thyroid. It may be an option when the tumour is under 10 mm, isn’t causing any symptoms and is considered to be low risk.
Some people choose to have active surveillance if the possible side effects from treatment would have more impact on their quality of life than the cancer itself. Other people find that active surveillance makes them feel anxious and prefer to have treatment straightaway.
Treatment can be considered at any stage if you change your mind or if the cancer grows or spreads. If you agree to active surveillance, your doctor will talk to you about the changes to look out for.
|Many people diagnosed with thyroid cancer are under 40 and may be concerned about how the treatment will affect their ability to conceive a child. Fertility usually is not affected by surgery or radioactive iodine treatment. In the short term, it is recommended that you delay pregnancy for six months after treatment.|
A/Prof Diana Learoyd, Endocrinologist, Northern Cancer Institute, and Northern Clinical School, The University of Sydney, NSW; Dr Gabrielle Cehic, Nuclear Medicine Physician and Oncologist, South Australia Medical Imaging (SAMI), and Senior Staff Specialist, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, SA; Dr Kiernan Hughes, Endocrinologist, Northern Endocrine and St Vincents Hospital, NSW; Yvonne King, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Dr Christine Lai, Senior Consultant Surgeon, Breast and Endocrine Surgical Unit, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and Senior Lecturer, Discipline of Surgery, University of Adelaide, SA; A/Prof Nat Lenzo, Nuclear Physician and Specialist in Internal Medicine, Group Clinical Director, GenesisCare Theranostics, and The University of Western Australia, WA; Ilona Lillington, Clinical Nurse Consultant (Thyroid and Brachytherapy), Cancer Care Services, Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital, QLD; Jonathan Park, Consumer.
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