Thyroid Cancer

What is Thyroid cancer?

Thyroid Cancer is a type of cancer that affects the Thyroid gland, a small gland at the base of the neck which produces hormones. There are different types of thyroid cancer. Papillary and follicular thyroid cancers are the most common types. These are well-differentiated and usually slow-growing. Medullary and Anaplastic thyroid cancers are less common and can be faster growing.

For more information on Thyroid cancer please refer to the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust

How is Thyroid Cancer Treated?

Treatments vary for each different type of Thyroid cancer. Most patients will require a thyroidectomy, which is the surgical removal of the thyroid gland. All patients who have a thyroidectomy will need to take replacement hormone therapy in the form of thyroxine tablets (sometimes referred to as T4).

Radioactive iodine ablation is often recommended to patients with papillary or follicular thyroid cancer. This is a special treatment which involves admission to hospital in a single room for up to two days. A capsule containing radioactive iodine is given orally which will be absorbed by any remaining thyroid tissue. The aim is to destroy any leftover tissue with radioactivity.

The treatment for medullary thyroid cancer varies depending on several factors and may include surveillance, drug treatment and/or radiotherapy.

Patients with more aggressive types of thyroid cancer may require chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.

All cases are regularly discussed at multidisciplinary team (MDT) meetings to decide the best treatment course.

You can find a good explanation of treatment choices at the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust

You can also find useful information at McMillan:

Who’ll be involved in my care?

There are many different members of staff involved in your care. Including:

Medical and Clinical Oncologists

Doctors specialising in the treatment of cancer involving drug treatments and radiotherapy

  • Professor Nick Reed
  • Dr Kathryn Graham
  • Dr Dave Colville

Thyroid Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist

Irene Wotherspoon provides information, advice and support to you as you go through treatment and direct you to help from other sources if needed eg: benefits

Chemotherapy nurses

  • Give chemotherapy in out-patient chemotherapy units.
  • Assess you for treatment so you only need to see medical staff at set times or if any problems arise.


Out-patient nursing staff


Where will I be treated?

We hold outpatient clinics in the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre.


  • Professor Nick Reed
  • Dr Kathryn Graham
  • Dr Dave Colville

Irene Wotherspoon
Advanced Clinical Nurse Specialist
0141 301 7261

Lucy Dornan
Clinical Nurse Specialist
0141 301 7261

For further information please visit


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