Q. Why is radiation therapy suggested for my aunt, who underwent stage-2 papillary thyroid cancer surgery?

Answered by
Dr. Arshad Hussain Shah
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 21, 2022

Hello doctor,

My aunt was diagnosed with stage-2 thyroid papillary carcinoma. Since it started to spread to the lymph nodes, the doctor suggested a thyroidectomy. Last week she underwent surgery. Now when she went for a follow-up, they recommended radiation therapy. Before the surgery, they said that radiation was not required but suddenly requested it. Now my question is if radiation therapy is needed, for what reason have they recommended radiation? In what all cases do they recommend radiation? Is the condition too severe to require radiation?



Welcome to

I understand your concern. First, I want to tell you that this type of thyroid cancer has an excellent prognosis. At this stage, the cure rate is more than 90 %. If the surgery has been done successfully and the whole tumor, including lymph nodes, is removed, it is good news. Now, she will be asked to undergo a radioisotope scan of the entire body. After the scan, radioactive iodine therapy will be needed if there is some minor or significant residual disease. If a scan after surgery has no residual disease, then she does not need further treatment. She needs a close follow-up and possibly Levothyroxine tablets. So nothing to worry about. It is a highly curable tumor.

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