Frequently Asked Questions about Thyroid Cancer

I have a thyroid nodule or thyroid cancer diagnosis and want to be treated by the UMHS Endocrine Oncology Program. What do I need to do?

There are many aspects to initiating a treatment plan, from travel to medical records to how your family may be involved. We encourage you to call our Patient Care Specialists, who can answer all of your questions and help get the process started. Call 1-800-865-1125.

If I have thyroid nodules, does that mean I have thyroid cancer?

Having a thyroid nodule does not mean you have thyroid cancer. In fact, 95% of thyroid nodules are benign. Most of the time, these nodules can be followed on a regular basis, without the need for surgery?

I have a thyroid nodule. What kind of tests can I expect to undergo?

Our endocrinology team will thoroughly evaluate the nodule and determine if it is cancerous. Your physician will take a detailed medical history and perform a careful physical exam. They may also perform an ultrasound exam in the office or refer you to a radiologist to perform the ultrasound. Lab work is also done and, if necessary, a tissue sample may be taken.

What if I have thyroid cancer?

The treatment for thyroid cancer is to remove all thyroid tissue, a procedure called a total thyroidectomy. Many times lymph nodes surrounding the thyroid are removed at the same time. We use the most advanced surgical techniques to help preserve the quality of the patient’s voice and decrease bleeding and operative time. After surgery, you may receive radioactive iodine treatment to take care of any small amounts of remaining thyroid cancer. 

Are there other treatments for thyroid cancer?

Your surgeon will discuss possible options for treatment of your particular condition. Each treatment plan is individualized. The risks, benefits and alternatives to each option will be fully explained by your surgeon.  Please feel free to ask any questions you might have.  It is important to us that you understand your disease and treatment options.

Why should I choose U-M to provide treatment?

The University of Michigan’s Multidisciplinary Endocrine Oncology physicians are leaders in their field dedicated to providing care solely to patients with endocrine disorders. Care of patients with thyroid cancer is a main focus of the Endocrine Surgery Division, and we are often referred patients with complex problems requiring care not available elsewhere. New techniques and therapies to care for patients with thyroid disorders are constantly being evaluated and implemented to provide the most up-to-date care possible.

I’d like to make an appointment, but there’s so much to consider – schedules, insurance, etc. Who can help me?

Our Patient Care Center is here to help you with everything from scheduling and coordinating appointments to planning travel and hotel accommodations. We are here to make your care as seamless as possible, and give you a single point of contact for any questions or concerns. We can also help you with any questions you might have about insurance coverage and hospital billing. You can reach our Patient Care Center at 1-800-865-1125.