Thyroid Chicago | Thyroid Cancer FAQ | Chicago ENT

Dr. Friedman answers frequently asked questions about thyroid cancer

Dr. Michael Friedman is one of the worlds’ leading thyroid and parathyroid experts and surgeons. He has authored and published numerous articles and textbooks and has lectured on thyroid and parathyroid surgery all around the world. Dr. Friedman has performed more than 5200 thyroid procedures. Here are some of the questions patients often ask.

Does a thyroid tumor affect my thyroid function?

Thyroid tumors almost never affect function. Patients with a thyroid nodule will usually have normal function. The nodule is something removed because of the risk of malignancy.

How is thyroid cancer treated?

Surgery is almost always curative. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy have no place in the treatment of thyroid cancers in most situations.

Is there any treatment after surgery?

Most patients of thyroid cancer also receive radioactive iodine treatment. This is a simple treatment where a small amount of radioactive iodine is given to the patient to destroy any residual thyroid cells.

Does radioactive iodine treatment have side effects?

Generally, no major side effects are reported.

Where is the treatment administered?

Treatments are given as an outpatient procedure. The patient must AVOID other people for FOUR days so they are not exposed to the radioactive material present in the patient’s bodily fluids.

How will I function without a thyroid?

Thyroid hormones are available as an exact duplicate of your own natural hormone. By taking a thyroid replacement pill, you should be perfectly normal.

Will I gain weight?

With proper replacement hormones, your metabolism will be normal and you should not gain weight.

Will I lose my voice?

Thyroid surgery requires removing the tumor from the recurrent laryngeal nerve; hoarseness is common but almost always temporary.

Will my parathyroid be saved?

The parathyroid glands are always identified and protected. In most cases, they will have normal functions. In some cases, if a parathyroid gland is too close to the tumor, it will be reimplanted in a neighboring muscle.

Will I have a scar?

Surgery always creates a potential for scar tissue, but scar minimization is an important part of the procedure. It starts before surgery by planning the incision in a natural skin crease. In most cases, this will camouflage the scar such that it is nearly invisible at full healing, which is typically one year.

Does my entire thyroid need to be removed or just the nodule?

In certain situations, part of the thyroid can be preserved. Often, total thyroidectomy offers the best cure with no adverse effects.

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Phone: 773-296-5500

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