Had anyone with papillary thyroid cancer ever kept half the thyroid


Had anyone with papillary thyroid cancer ever kept half the thyroid

Firstly, can I just say the C-word sucks big time.  Ok - got that out of my system and called it for what it is......

A family member has recently been diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer.  Half her thyroid was removed, and lymph nodes.  There was cancer in the lumps in the thyroid (also went outside the thyroid) but none in the nodes.  

The recommended next step is to remove what appears to be a clear remaining working  half of a thyroid- just in case because the cancer had made its way outside the thyroid (not fully contained).  

Also being told that to monitor for cancer you can’t keep a healthy thyroid as it makes monitoring test results “unreliable”.

And if she gets to the stage of needing radioactive iodine therapy in future- the remaining half has to go anyway as it makes the RAI therapy ineffective (is that true?).


Why didn’t they just do a full thyroidectomy in the first place if all options are to have this fully removed.  Btw she does not need to have RAI now.  Only if cancer cells are detected in the future. But is also being told cancer cell monitoring is hindered if you keep your healthy thyroid - so we may not tell if any cancer got out.    (Ps- is anyone working on finding a better test method????). 

There was mention of the Japanese (to patiently watch and see) vs Korean (aggressive and precautionary) approach to managing thyroid cancer - no one has mentioned it in any comment or blog  - hoping to hear if anyone has had their surgeon talk about these approaches.  


I feel like the advice given is “take out your healthy thyroid to help the medical monitoring be a (“bit more”; coz nothing is 100) full proof”.   

Tired, confused and my sibling is simply overwhelmed.  

Valued Contributor

Re: Had anyone with papillary thyroid cancer ever kept half the thyroid

Morning @Vee21 and welcome to our community ❤️


Sorry to hear of your sibling's diagnosis!


You or other members of your family may be interested in having a listen to a few of our podcasts, such as making treatment decisions, family dynamics and cancer, and how to help someone with cancer.


I'd also recommend readingTalking to your doctor andMaking treatment decisions.


Has she had any further tests or updates about her treatment as yet? Please remember, we are here for any member of your family who may need support 😘



Cancer Council Online Community Manager

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