Surgery is usually the first treatment needed for papillary, follicular and medullary thyroid cancers. It is unlikely to be recommended for thyroid lymphoma patients and is only occasionally suitable for patients with anaplastic thyroid cancer.
This can occur when the nerve that supplies the vocal cords is ‘bruised’ or damaged during the operation. The voice changes in this case are usually temporary.
Low calcium levels
This can happen when the parathyroid glands (there are 4 of them) that sit close to the thyroid gland are removed or get ‘bruised’ during the operation. These glands control the calcium levels in the blood. If they are not working normally the calcium level will be low. The calcium level will be checked by a blood test after your operation and if the levels are low you will be given extra calcium either as a tablet or through a drip. Your surgeon will talk to you about this in more detail.
When the thyroid gland is removed, thyroid hormone medication is needed to replace the thyroid hormones that the body can no longer make. Thyroxine tablets need to be taken once a day and are usually best taken first thing in the morning.
If you use any over the counter health supplements including multivitamins it is worth checking with your doctor whether the time of day you take these these tablets needs to be changed. Some tablets can reduce the amount of thyroxine you can absorb from you stomach into the bloodstream so leaving at least a 2 hour gap can be helpful.
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Thyroid Cancer Forum UKDr. Kate Garcez
Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, M20 4BX
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