Guidelines for the management of thyroid cancer


Second edition, published August 2007 

Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine malignancy, but its prognosis is usually excellent, provided management is optimal. However, variations in diagnostic approaches, monitoring and treatment are widespread.

The first edition of the guidelines (published in 2002) aimed to improve all aspects of management of patients with thyroid cancer and pledged an update in due course. Although randomised controlled trials are still scarce, many advances have taken place in the past five years.

This edition of the guidelines emphasises individualised management of thyroid cancer on the basis of risk classification. It covers diagnostic aspects of thyroid nodules in the context of thyroid malignancy, including interpretation of the cancer waiting times as applied to thyroid cancer. It incorporates extensive coverage of treatment of differentiated thyroid cancer and medullary thyroid cancer, monitoring for disease recurrence and treatment of advanced disease. The report also includes guidance for general practitioners, with appendices on laboratories offering specialised diagnostic services and patient information leaflets.

It aims to improve the management of thyroid cancer and thus reduce disease-specific mortality, enhance quality of life of thyroid cancer survivors, and limit iatrogenic complications. It should be read by all those involved in managing patients with thyroid cancer to ensure that their patients receive the best care available.

'The British Association of Endocrine and Thyroid Surgeons are proud to have contributed to these guidelines and fully endorse them. They represent a multidisciplinary approach to this disease which we all hope will raise standards and improve outcomes for our patients' Professor T W J Lennard


  • Key recommendation
  • Presentation, diagnosis and referral
  • Fine-needle aspiration cytology
  • Primary treatment of differentiated thyroid cancer
  • Surgery for differentiated thyroid cancer
  • Radioiodine ablation and therapy for differentiated thyroid cancer
  • External beam radiotherapy
  • Post-treatment follow-up
  • Recurrent/persistent differentiated thyroid cancer
  • Long-term follow-up of differentiated thyroid cancer
  • Pregnancy and thyroid cancer
  • Pathology reporting, grading and staging of thyroid cancer
  • Management of medullary thyroid cancer
  • A guide for general practitioners
  • Patient information

This guideline is available to download as a pdf.

Related products

500 years of the Royal College of Physicians

'The 500th anniversary of the Royal College of Physicians is a huge source of pride for us as we ...

A garden of medicinal plants

By Henry Oakeley, Jane Knowles, Michael de Swiet and Anthony Dayan A garden of medicinal plants...

A rhyming alphabet of medicinal plants

By Dr Henry Oakeley A new book from Dr Henry Oakeley, the Royal College of Physicians garden fell...