Thyroid Cancer

At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, our experts see many people with thyroid nodules and tumors. This gives us a deep understanding of how to study your condition and how to choose and combine treatments to get the best possible results. 

Thanks to our ties to UW Medicine, when you treat your thyroid cancer at Fred Hutch, you can join clinical trials that are not available everywhere. 

Fred Hutch: A Leader in Thyroid Cancer Treatment

Fred Hutch treats every kind of thyroid cancer. We follow guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Center and the American Thyroid Association to make sure every patient gets the treatments they need — and that they don’t get any treatments they don’t need. 

Your First Appointment

From the first time you come to see us, your thyroid team will begin getting to know you and your family. What are your questions? What are your concerns?  

At your first appointment, your medical oncologist will also explain your disease, including your type of thyroid cancer. They will tell you how it’s treated and what tests you need to help plan your care. We know you have many questions, and from this point on, we will start replacing unknowns with answers.

Learn About Thyroid Cancer

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located on the front of the neck, in front of the windpipe. Thyroid cancer happens when cells in the thyroid gland divide and change without their normal controls or organization. Thyroid cancer is the seventh most common cancer in people who are assigned female sex at birth. They are three times more likely to get a thyroid cancer diagnosis than people who are assigned male sex at birth.  

Facts & Resources

Treatment for Thyroid Cancer

Your care team will combine their knowledge, skills and experience to recommend a treatment plan to get the best possible results for your situation. Treatment looks different for different people, depending on your stage and type of thyroid cancer.

For most people, the first treatment is surgery. Radioactive iodine therapy (RAI) is another standard treatment, and targeted therapies are often available, too. 


Thyroid Cancer Care Team

At Fred Hutch, we surround you with experts who focus completely on cancer care. A handful of people make up the core of your care team. You will have a medical oncologist and a registered nurse who are experienced in caring for people with thyroid cancer. At some visits, you might see an advanced practice provider. Most patients get part of their treatment from infusion nurses. A patient care coordinator will schedule your visits. 

Care Team

Our Approach to Treatment

The safest, most effective and most widely accepted therapies for cancer are known as the “standard of care.” For many patients, these therapies will be a large part of their treatment. At Fred Hutch, we provide all standard therapies for thyroid cancer. We know how to choose the right ones for you and how to deliver them to give you the best chance at a full recovery.

Our physicians and researchers are always asking how we can make thyroid cancer treatments more effective and reduce side effects as much as possible. This is why we do clinical trials (also called clinical studies). Through these studies, we are able to offer you therapies that aren’t offered everywhere. A therapy that is going through trials today may become the new standard of care tomorrow.

Along with treating your cancer, a group of world-class professionals is here to support you. This team includes nurses, dietitians, physical therapists, social workers and psychologists. We also include supportive care services for your physical, mental and emotional well-being. 


Role of the Caregiver

When someone close to you is diagnosed with thyroid cancer, you might step into the role of caregiver. Being a caregiver can mean many things, from lending a hand with daily living tasks to helping with medical decisions. It can also mean dealing with your own emotions and stress. 

At Fred Hutch, caregivers are valuable members of a patient’s care team. We see every day that your presence and your support make a difference. We know that what your friend or family member is going through affects you, too.

Part of our mission is to help you take care of yourself. Caring for yourself is good for your physical, mental and emotional health. It also helps you give your best to your loved one. Our social workers, Spiritual Health team and Patient and Family Resource Center staff are here to help support you.

“I enjoy helping patients understand the diagnosis and treatment of endocrine cancers so they can choose a path forward that matches their life goals.”

— Mara Y. Roth, MD, endocrinologist

Latest Treatments and Clinical Trials

Physicians and scientists from Fred Hutch and UW Medicine are testing new treatments for thyroid cancer and finding new ways to use current treatments. 

Through this work, we are looking for answers to two main questions: How can we do even better at controlling or curing thyroid cancer? How can we make treatments less toxic and easier on patients?

When your care team creates your treatment plan, they will give you the choice to join any available clinical trials that match your situation. If you decide to join one, you will see the same physicians and nurses as you would for standard therapy.

Your care team will talk with you about if you might want to join a study and why. This can help you make the decision that is best for you.

Related News

All news
Endocrine Tumor Program at Fred Hutch launches survivorship clinic New clinic provides long-term care for thyroid tumors and endocrine immune-related adverse events August 24, 2023
Seattle Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto, broadcaster Dave Sims tour Fred Hutch ‘You learn to be resilient’: In baseball, both men found lessons to help overcome cancer diagnoses and treatment September 6, 2016