Thyroid Cancer Overview

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Treating Thyroid Cancer TOPICS

Thyroid hormone treatment

Taking daily pills of thyroid hormone can do 2 things:

  • It can help maintain normal metabolism (use of energy).
  • It can help stop any left behind cancer cells from growing.

After the thyroid has been removed, the body can no longer make the thyroid hormone it needs, so patients must take thyroid hormone pills to replace the loss of the natural hormone. Taking thyroid hormone may also help prevent some thyroid cancers from coming back.

Possible side effects

Taking higher than normal levels of thyroid hormone seems to have few short-term side effects, but some doctors have concerns about patients taking them for long periods of time. High levels of thyroid hormone can lead to heart rhythm problems. Over the long run, high doses of thyroid hormone can lead to weak bones. Because of this, high doses of thyroid hormone might be used only in people with cancers who are at high risk of the cancer coming back.

Last Medical Review: 02/27/2014
Last Revised: 02/12/2016