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School of Medicine
Comprehensive Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Johns Hopkins offers comprehensive treatment provided by a multidisciplinary team specializing in surgical oncology, otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, medical oncology, endocrinology and radiation oncology. Patients may benefit from delicate surgery for thyroid cancer pioneered at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. This technique allows physicians to remove cancerous tumors without destroying the nerve to the vocal cords, thereby preserving speech. Our experts are recognized for their expertise in treating the most challenging cases. Additionally, Johns Hopkins is one of the first centers in the world to offer transoral endoscopic and robotic thyroid surgery, helping some patients avoid an incision on their neck.
Johns Hopkins thyroid cancer experts also offer clinical trials aimed at finding new treatments that may eventually set the standard of care for patients.
Thyroid Cancer: What You Need to Know
- Papillary thyroid cancer, the most common type of thyroid cancer, usually grows slowly but can spread to lymph nodes. These cancers can be readily cured with appropriate treatment and are rarely fatal.
- Follicular carcinoma is the second most common type of thyroid cancer, and the prognosis is usually good.
- Medullary thyroid cancer, an uncommon type of thyroid cancer, can have a genetic predisposition as part of familial medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome.
- Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma is a rare but extremely aggressive form of thyroid cancer.
- The prognosis for thyroid cancer is good with an overall remission rate of over 90 percent.
Why Choose Johns Hopkins for Thyroid Cancer Treatment?
Thyroid Cancer Testing and Treatment
Current treatment incorporates multidisciplinary specialists including world class surgeons, endocrinologists, radiation oncologists, otolaryngologists and specialized nurses. Most thyroid cancers are diagnosed by fine needle aspiration which entails extracting cells from the affected area using a very thin needle. This needle is guided by ultrasound technology for safe extraction with minimal discomfort.
Johns Hopkins offers thyroid cancer patients two specialized thyroid surgery centers of excellence.
The Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery's Thyroid and Parathyroid Center is comprised of a specialized team of Otolaryngologists, also known as ENTs. Our expert surgeons have a unique understanding of the anatomy of the head and neck, enabling them to achieve excellent results when performing surgery in the intricate areas that include the voice box, trachea, upper esophagus and vocal cord nerves. Their concentrated training in the head and neck provides comprehensive care for more advanced disease that may have spread to the lymph nodes.
The Department of Surgery Thyroid Tumor Center provides compassionate and comprehensive patient care for patients with hyperparathyroidism, thyroid cancers, thyroid tumors, adrenal tumors, pancreatic islet tumors, and gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors. The general surgery team provides specialized total body surgical care.
A Complicated Case of Thyroid Carcinoma that Has Spread
Endocrine surgeon Jason Prescott, MD, knew that the young woman who came to The Johns Hopkins Hospital from Saudi Arabia faced a highly complex operation. Diagnosed with thyroid cancer in her native country, she had already undergone one procedure to remove her thyroid gland. But a subsequent examination revealed that the cancer had spread to lymph nodes within her neck, which would also have to be removed.
A Second Opinion Thwarts Spreading Thyroid Tumor
For years, Roberta’s nurse practitioner noted her enlarged thyroid. Year after year, she told her primary care physician, who would order a thyroid panel that always came back within a healthy range. After nine years, Roberta’s nurse practitioner ordered an ultrasound of her thyroid that revealed growths that didn’t belong.