Follow Up & Monitoring for Recurrence

Last Modified: August 14, 2012

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If I had surgery to remove my thyroid and cancer, can it come back? How will my doctor know if my thyroid cancer comes back after I finished all my treatments/procedures and things seem ok?


Rachel Kelz, MD, MSCE, at Penn Medicine responds,

Thyroid cancer recurs in 25% of people. The likelihood for recurrence depends of the specific characteristics of the tumor and the patient. There are several staging systems that can help predict the likelihood of recurrence. You should have regularly scheduled appointments with your endocrinologist. The exact testing required will be determined by your blood test results and usually a high resolution neck ultrasound.

This question and answer was part of OncoLink's Brown Bag Web Chat Series. View the entire transcript of Focus on Thyroid Cancer.

Simplified Method Has Value for Prognosis in Thyroid Cancer

Mar 1, 2015 - A quantified alternative to the TNM system -- a cancer-staging system using tumor size, node involvement and presence of metastases -- provides a simple method of predicting recurrence and cancer-specific mortality, with no loss of discrimination compared to other systems, for differentiated thyroid carcinoma, according to research published online March 9 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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