Papillary and follicular cancers are usually treated by removing the whole thyroid gland. This is called a total thyroidectomy. In some cases, when the tumour is very small, only the affected side of the thyroid may be removed. This is called a lobectomy. The surgeon may also remove some of the lymph nodes in the neck to check whether any cancer cells have spread. After surgery your child may be treated with radioactive iodine.
If your family has familial medullary thyroid cancer, you will usually be advised to have your child’s whole thyroid removed within the first few years of their life.
After surgery it is likely that your child will need to take levothyroxine for the rest of their life. The amount of levothyroxine prescribed will usually be higher than that typically used to treat hypothyroidism in order to keep the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) level suppressed as there is evidence that a high TSH can cause any remaining thyroid cells to grow and develop thyroid cancer. If your GP wants to alter your child’s dose, always speak to the specialist first.