Treatment for thyroid disease depends on the cause, severity of symptoms, and the levels of hormone production.
Therapy for disorders that cause hyperthyroidism may involve radioactive iodine to destroy part of or the entire thyroid gland to stop excess production, anti-thyroid drugs, or surgery to remove the thyroid. Sometimes all three of these treatments may be used. If the thyroid is destroyed or removed, the person will become hypothyroid and will need to take synthetic thyroid hormones to replace what is no longer produced by the thyroid gland.
Treatment for all types and causes of hypothyroidism is usually straightforward and involves thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
Treatment for thyroid cancers depends on the type of cancer and how far it has spread. Thyroid cancer often requires removal of all or part of the thyroid and may involve radioactive iodine treatment and treatment with thyroid hormones. While papillary cancer is usually easily treated and most cases are cured, the others can be a challenge. In some cases, radiation and chemotherapy are used before and after surgical removal of the thyroid.