Thyroid Cancer in Children: Treatment Information


The first treatment for thyroid cancer in children involves the removal of all or part of the thyroid gland through surgery.  This surgery is very safe in children.  If all of the thyroid gland must be removed, thyroid hormone replacement will be necessary.  This involves daily medication for the rest of a person’s life.

Radioactive Iodine- it may be necessary to use this treatment if surgery does not remove all of the cancer, and if there are any other areas of the body that have thyroid cancer cells.  Radioactive iodine is a molecule of Iodine that has a very potent radioactive ability.  The cancerous thyroid cells take in the radioactive iodine so that a very high does of radiation is administered directly to the cancer cells.

Research Studies

The majority of children with cancer participate in research studies.  This high rate of participation has been essential to improving the cure rates for children’s cancer.

Researchers design various studies to improve treatment and advance the understanding of cancer and its causes.  Clinical trials are carefully reviewed and must be approved through a formal scientific process before anyone can be enrolled.  If there is a research study “open” that your child is “eligible for,” you may be asked to allow your child to participate.  It is also possible that your child will be asked to participate in more than one study.

Whether an individual is eligible for a particular study may depend on age, location of the cancer, the extent of the disease and other information.  Researchers usually must limit their study to some of these characteristics to have a scientifically valid study.  Further, researchers must follow exactly the same restrictions throughout the study. 

If your child is eligible to participate in one or more study, your doctor will discuss these with you during an initial treatment conference (also called informed consent conference).  The doctor will describe the study, potential risks of participation, and other information you need to decide whether or not you would like your child to participate in the study.  You always have the choice to participate or not in research studies.

If you do choose to have your child participate in a study, you doctor will explain what type of information you will receive about the results of the study.  The overall results of the research study will be published to inform the public and other researchers.  No study will publish any information that identifies an individual. 

Visit the Clinical Trials section of this website to learn more about the various kinds of research studies.

Recurrence Risk

Recurrence of thyroid cancer is three times more likely to occur in children and young adult patients than in older adults.

 

Last updated September, 2011

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