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Thyroid Medications after Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Sunday, 22 February 2009 11:13


What type of medication do I have to take after thyroid surgery? 


One will eventually start thyroid hormone supplements once the thyroid gland has been removed.  Depending on one’s protocol, which is determined by the endocrinologist, one will either start thyroid medication immediately after thyroid surgery or after the radioactive iodine treatment.  In any case, once one starts thyroid hormone supplements they will continue for the rest of their life.  The body cannot survive without thyroid hormone.  Thyroid hormone plays a critical role in the metabolism of every organ and cell in the body. 


Often the goal of thyroid hormone treatment after thyroid cancer is to have low levels of TSH in the body.  Low levels of TSH help suppress any thyroid cells and can possibly decrease the recurrence of thyroid cancers.  However, in order to reach low levels of TSH often one’s body has to be in a slightly hyperthyroidism state.  This can cause hyperthyroidism side effects which include anxiety, diarrhea, weight loss, shaky feeling, and hot flashes.   Low levels of TSH can also cause atrial fibrillation, cardiac dysfunction and acceleration of osteoporosis.2


There are various brands of thyroid hormone.  In order to avoid fluctuating thyroid hormone levels it is important to stay with the same brand.


What should I expect for follow up After Initial Treatment?


Follow-up will vary depending on one’s diagnosis and risk factors.  Typically, if the surgery and radioactive iodine oblation is successfully the following follow-up is recommended.  Your endocrinologist recommend a follow up schedule.


Typical follow up after initial treatment includes:


Every 4-6 months to endocrinologist for TSH monitoring and medication adjustments

Initial 6 month ultrasound of neck, then annually for 5 years

Initial 6 month thyroglobulin levels, then annually for the rest of one’s life

Whole Body Scan at one year, then annually for 5 years

Annual checkups and blood work for the rest of one’s life to monitor or recurrences.


Last Updated on Friday, 17 February 2012 11:53

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