Thyroid Cancer (cont.)
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Thyroid Cancer Follow-up
Once any remaining thyroid tissue is removed or destroyed, thyroid hormone replacement must be taken to prevent hypothyroidism and suppress the stimulation of thyroid tissue. The goal of treatment with thyroid hormone replacement therapy is to achieve borderline higher, or slightly higher than normal, levels of thyroid hormone.
Iodine123 and Iodine131 whole-body scans can be used to monitor the effects of treatment. A post-therapy scan approximately one week after radioactive iodine treatment can reveal small areas of metastasis or residual disease. After initial therapy, follow-up scans can be performed approximately 12 months after surgery or earlier for obvious recurrent disease. Scans should be done only after the patient is made hypothyroid, either by discontinuing thyroid hormone replacement or through using an injectable form of thyrotropin (rTSH).
Thyroglobulin blood levels can be useful for follow-up in some patients and are measured at three- to 12-month intervals following treatment. Thyroglobulin is a protein made in thyroid follicular cells. In patients with thyroid cancer who have had their thyroid removed, blood levels of thyroglobulin can be used as a marker of thyroid cancer recurrence.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/5/2015
Stephanie L Lee, MD, PhD, FACE
Sonia Ananthakrishnan, MD
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