Cancer is complex — there is no routine thyroid cancer, nor is there ever a routine way to treat it.

The OSUCCC – James physicians are nationally and internationally renowned in research and patient care for their one particular cancer. Because of that expertise and understanding of cancer’s complexities and how it acts and reacts differently in each person, the very best outcomes — and the most effective means of treating cancer patients — come from a team approach.

At the OSUCCC – James, thyroid cancer patients have a team of experts that includes medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, geneticists, endocrinologists, otolaryngologists, nutritionists and more. Also on that team are thyroid cancer researchers who help sequence tumors to identify key molecules that fuel each patient’s cancer and who then develop drugs that target only those particular molecules. Many of our experts also help write the national clinical guidelines for treatments.

As one of only four cancer centers in the country funded by the National Cancer Institute to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials, the OSUCCC – James offers patients access to more clinical trials than nearly any other cancer hospital in the country and to more of the latest, most targeted, most effective treatment options — many that are available nowhere else but at the OSUCCC – James.

There are several types of treatment for thyroid cancer. The OSUCCC – James team of subspecialists determine the best treatment for each patient based on his or her specific, individual thyroid cancer. Patients may receive one treatment or a combination of treatments.

The following treatments are available to treat thyroid cancer:


Surgery is the treatment chosen most often to treat thyroid cancer.  There are several different types of surgeries including:


A type of surgery in which the lobe containing cancer is removed. Lymph nodes may also be removed at this time to see if they contain cancer

Near-total Thyroidectomy

A type of surgery in which all but a small part of the thyroid is removed.

Total Thyroidectomy

A type of surgery in which the whole thyroid is removed.


A type of surgery in which the lymph nodes that contain cancer in the neck are removed.

Even after the cancer is surgically removed, patients may undergo additional radiation or hormone treatment afterwards to kill any remaining cancer cells. This lowers the risk of the cancer coming back.

Radiation Therapy and Radioactive Iodine Therapy

Radiation therapy uses X-rays to reach and destroy cancer cells. Radiation is often used to treat specific areas of the body. 

Radiation therapy may be given after surgery to kill any thyroid cancer cells that were not removed.

Some types of thyroid cancer, including follicular and papillary thyroid cancers can be successfully treated with radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy.

Radioactive iodine is given to the patient by mouth and collects in thyroid tissue. Because only thyroid cells collect iodine, RAI is a way of naturally targeting only thyroid tissues, leaving other healthy areas alone.


Chemotherapy uses specialized drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by destroying the cells or by preventing them from making new cells. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

Thyroid Hormone

TherapyHormones are chemicals made by glands in the body and sent out into the bloodstream where they impact different body functions. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) can cause thyroid cancers to grow so drugs used to remove this hormone, or block its action, may be used as a type of hormone therapy.

Patients may have to take thyroid hormone replacement drugs to replace TSH since thyroid cancer treatment kills the thyroid cells that produce this hormone.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy is a type of drug treatment designed to target cancer cells, leaving healthy or normal cells unharmed. These drugs tend to have less severe side effects and are usually more tolerated than standard chemotherapy drugs.

One type of targeted therapy blocks signals that tumors need to grow. Known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors, these drugs are effective in treating thyroid cancer. Vandetanib is a type of kinase inhibitor used to treat thyroid cancer.

(Source: National Cancer Institute)

Thyroid Cancer Research & Clinical Trials

For cancer patients, clinical trials mean hope. Hope for a cancer-free world and for better, more targeted ways to prevent, detect, treat and cure individual cancers. Patients can enter clinical trials before, during or after starting their cancer treatment.

The OSUCCC – James has more than 500 open clinical trials at any given time, with some of the world’s latest discoveries available to clinical trial patients right here in Columbus, Ohio. In fact, patients have access to more cancer clinical trials here than at nearly any other hospital in the region as well as access to some of the most advanced, targeted treatments and drugs available.

The OSUCCC – James is one of only four U.S. cancer centers funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to conduct phase I and phase II clinical trials. These trials go only to centers that demonstrate an exemplary capacity for research and clinical care, the expertise to deliver the latest in treatments and the infrastructure to interpret and track treatment results.

Additionally, Ohio State has nearly 300 cancer researchers dedicated to understanding what makes each patient’s cancer grow, move, metastasize or reoccur. Because of the OSUCCC – James’ NCI phase I and phase II approvals, these experts can move research discoveries into clinical trials and make them available to patients sooner.

If you have received a thyroid cancer diagnosis, or if you want a second opinion or just want to speak to a thyroid cancer specialist, we are here to help you. Call 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 W. 10th Ave.

Columbus, Ohio 43210


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