Thyroid cancer

What you need to know

The thyroid is a small gland weighing 20 to 30 grams located on the tracheolaryngic axis (anterior face of the neck) at the 2nd and 3rd laryngeal ring. It consists of 2 lobes connected by a ring called the thyroid isthmus. It is an organ rich in vessels. The parathyroid glands are located at its 4 poles. It is an iodine reservoir.
The thyroid is composed of different types of cells and each type plays a role in the development of cancers.
The thyroid is responsible for secreting hormones:
• Iodinated thyroglobulin secreted by the colloid which is the central light of the gland
• T3 or triiodothyronine / T4 or thyroxine secreted by the follicular cells that constitute the thyroid follicles located around the colloid
• And calcitonin secreted by the C cells that compose the follicles in smaller quantities (1 to 2%).
• These secretions are under the control of another hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, thyroid stimulating hormone or TSH.
Thyroid cancer is a malignant tumour of the thyroid, most often in the form of a nodule. Thyroid nodules are common. Fortunately, 95% of these nodules are benign. There are 140000 new cases of thyroid cancer diagnosed in the world, representing 1% of all cancers diagnosed. It is the most common endocrine cancer. It affects women more than men with a 5:1 ratio. The number of new cases diagnosed annually increased fivefold between 1980 and 2005 for both sexes. There is a great geographical disparity.
Thyroid cancers are classified into 4 histological types, differentiated by their cellular origin:
These 2 types of cancers are called differentiated, they can benefit from treatment with Iodine-131:
• Exposure to ionizing radiation, mainly during childhood, external or internal (inhaled or ingested particles), goitreous endemic area;
• Iodine deficiency;
• Female: women are more frequently affected than men, with a ratio of 5:1
Other factors are suspected: nutritional, reproductive, menstrual, hormonal and anthropometric, chemical pollutants (pesticides, etc.).
• Appearance of a nodule or mass in the cervical region;
• Appearance of a painful lateral-cervical lymph node;
• Recent increase of a goiter;
• Signs of thyroid hormone abnormalities: motor diarrhea, hot flashes, fatigue, weight gain, high blood pressure
• Dysphonia: voice disorder by paralysis of the vocal cord
• Otalgia reflex: persistent ear pain


Duration of hospital stay
2 to 5 days.
The time spent abroad depends on the treatment.
Average length of stay
Longs stays.
Several long stays may be necessary.

Customized thyroid cancer treatment
Customized thyroid cancer treatment

How to find quality treatment abroad

Every year, nearly 11 million patients go abroad in search of medical care. At MEDICAIM, we provide our patients with access to the best hospitals and doctors around the world. Contact us to learn more about your treatment options.

383Patients who have used MEDICAIM
600Clinics in 25 countries
178Countries represented by MEDICAIM patients
24/7Availability of MEDICAIM customer service

Ask for your free quote abroad
Start your medical stay by requesting a quote. Our customer service department will help you find the clinic that best suits your needs and get you a quote.

Before the treatment

The interview is important to know if there are any signs of thyroid hormone disorders, if there is a family history, etc. The clinical examination makes it possible to palpate a nodule or goiter: it is thus possible to specify its consistency, sensitivity and mobility. Finally, clinical examination can detect signs of typo or hyperthyroid.
Thyroid ultrasound coupled with Doppler is the reference examination.
It consists in placing the ultrasound probe in contact with the thyroid by means of a gel that allows the ultrasound waves to pass through. These waves are emitted and returned to the ultrasound screen. The thyroid, potential nodules, their sizes, contours, measurements, echostructure and the existence of calcifications can be seen.

Thanks to Doppler, arterial and venous flows are measured.
Cytopunction is the most effective test to assess the nature of thyroid nodules.
During the ultrasound, a needle sample is taken: the nodules are punctured under local anaesthesia to carry out an anatomopathological examination by smear. Hormonal dosages are essential.
A standard test (such as blood count, sedimentation rate, reactive C protein) and a specific thyroid test (TSH, T4L, T3L, calcitonin, Anti-peroxidase antibody, Anti-thyroglobulin body) are performed.
Iodine-123 Scintigraphy:
It is indicated if TSH is low and/or there are signs of hyperthyroidism.
Extension assessment:
For differentiated cancer:
• Chest X-ray
• Cervical ultrasound to see the lymph node areas
• Whole body scanning with radioactive Iodine
• Thyroglobulinemia
Pour le cancer médullaire:
• Calcitoninemia
• Carcino-embryonic antigen (CEA)
• Chest X-ray
• Scanning of the neck, chest and abdomen
• Bone scan
• Phosphocalcic balance And mutation research of the proto oncogenic RET
• Eliminate a pheochromocytoma that is a cancer of the adrenals secreting catechomamines.
Treatments are often combined and are decided after multidisciplinary consultation.
Surgery is indicated for cancers as well as toxic nodules and toxic nodular goiter.
It is a key step. Usually, the surgeon removes all the thyroid gland. This is called total thyroidectomy. When the surgeon removes only a part of it, it is called a partial lobectomy.
• You will have an appointment with the surgeon who will explain all the surgical procedures.
• You will also see the anaesthetist who will ensure that there is no contraindication to a general anaesthesia during a precise examination And blood And clinical tests.

What does it involve?

It takes place under general anesthesia and lasts a few hours. The surgeon creates a horizontal incision in the trachea to remove the thyroid gland. It can sometimes remove the lymph nodes around it, this is called lymph node cleaning.
Drains are placed in the operated area to avoid hematoma and lymphodema.
The removed part is sent to pathology so the results will be received within 3 weeks. The lymph node is examined during the operation and is referred to as an extemporaneous examination.
It is used to remove residual cancer cells after the procedure and to remove metastases. It is indicated for differentiated cancers.
This treatment is formally contraindicated in pregnant or breastfeeding women.
You ingest a radioactive iodine capsule with a large glass of water. This iodine is captured by cancer cells. This allows them to be destroyed gradually over time. The capsules are brought in a metal box.
You remain isolated in your room and those around you must take action against this radioactive iodine.
You should drink plenty of water to avoid altering the urinary tract. Sometimes laxatives are also prescribed.
This treatment can cause inflammation of the salivary glands: you then drink lemon juice or suck on lemons and candy. Your hospitalization lasts between 2 and 5 days in a special room, protected by lead walls. You will not see anyone during the hospitalization.
You can take everything you need to take care of yourself and your clothes will be washed when you leave. Clean clothes outside your room will be given to you when you leave.

Thyroid cancer
Thyroid cancer

After the treatment

After the intervention:
You stay in the recovery room for about 2 hours before going back to the room. The anaesthetist sets up a treatment for pain by the vein. The perceived pain is a bit like angina.
Potential complications:
• Hypocalcemia: decrease in calcium due to transient parathyroid involvement. Vitamin D3 And calcium supplementation is then introduced.
• voice disorder: by transient damage to the vocal cords
• transient swallowing disorders
• Lymphedema during lymph node cleaning
• Nerve damage to the neck
• Hematoma
• Wound infection
• The scar is visible and gradually regresses over the next 2 years. One year of protection per sunblock is mandatory.
Hospitalization lasts on average 3 days. At your discharge, a biological check-up is prescribed. Hormone replacement therapy is also being introduced. You will be reviewed with a biological check-up at 1 month. You will then be checked with a biological check-up and ultrasound every 6 months for 2 years and then every year for a total of 5 years.
After radioactive iodine treatment or iritherapy:
You will leave after performing a iodine-131 whole-body scan. You will pass through a dosimeter that will measure the residual radioactive iodine level you will have. At home you should not see children or pregnant women. Specific radiation protection rules will be established. You will have a check-up at 3 months and then every 6 months by consultation with the nuclear doctor and by whole body scintigraphy with iodine 131 cervical ultrasound blood test including thyroglobulin and antithyroglobulin antibodies.

About Thyroid cancer

Chemotherapy is indicated only for highly invasive, non-operable spinal cord cancers. It consists of the ingestion of one tablet of Vandetanib. It requires an opinion and agreement after multidisciplinary consultation.
Some complex diseases such as cancer can lead some patients to seek a second medical opinion. Almost 50% of patients using the second medical opinion have seen their treatment options evolve. Seeking a second medical opinion is perfectly legitimate when faced with a serious illness.
Click here to find out more about the second MEDICAIM medical opinion
MEDICAIM takes care of the follow-up on a case-by-case basis.
MEDICAIM is looking for the best specialists for you and we will offer you several renowned doctors.
MEDICAIM organizes your entire stay for you: post-operative nursing care, biological follow-up, therapeutic, nutritional and psychological support.
Any additional questions? Ask your MEDICAIM doctor about it:

Customized treatment

Some needs and conditions are more complex than others. In case of doubt, please send us additional information to establish a customized quote.

Ask for a quote

We are available to help you find the treatment you are looking for

Traitement sur-mesure

Certains besoins et pathologies sont plus complexes que d’autres. En cas de doute, faîtes-nous parvenir des informations complémentaires pour établir un devis sur-mesure.

Demander un devis
Second medical opinion

Entrust us with your medical file and it will be examined by a specialist doctor. The goal?
Allow you to evaluate all your treatment options.

799 €ORDER

Similar procedures