Diet After Thyroid Surgery

Last Modified: August 14, 2012

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What kind of diet do I need to follow if I had surgery for thyroid cancer or have a recurrence of thyroid cancer?


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

Thyroid cancer surgery does not require a specific diet. You are usually instructed to avoid foods that worsen your sore throat. If you need treatment with radioactive iodine for your cancer or your recurrence then you will need to consult with your treating physician about the specific iodine-free diet recommended at that institution. The website for the American Thyroid Association (ATA)(www. has a lot of information about this type of diet. You should also know that it is helpful to avoid contrast agents used for CAT SCANs that contain iodine before receiving radioactive iodine. The iodine stays in the system for 6-8 weeks following the injection.

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

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