Treatments

Currently Browsing:Cancer Center

Currently Browsing:Endocrine

Currently Browsing:General and Gastrointestinal Surgery

  • Endocrine Surgery Program

    The Massachusetts General Hospital Endocrine Surgery Program provides comprehensive, expert treatment for diseases of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands, including thyroid cancer.

    Request an appointment Refer a patient

    Call to refer a patient or request an appointment: 617-643-7359

Currently Browsing:Imaging

  • Cancer Imaging & Intervention

    The Cancer Imaging & Intervention Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging combines leading-edge technology and the expertise of specialty-trained radiologists to provide comprehensive cancer detection and monitoring, plus image-guided treatments for specific types of cancer.

    Request an Appointment

    Call to request an appointment 617-724-9729

Currently Browsing:Pediatrics

  • Psychology Assessment Center

    The pediatric neuropsychology specialists at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Psychology Assessment Center provide neuropsychological assessments to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological, medical, genetic and developmental disorders.

    For more information, please call: 617-643-3997

  • Pediatric Thyroid Surgery Program

    Pediatric Patients Only

    The Pediatric Thyroid Surgery Program at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) is a multidisciplinary program devoted to the care of infants, children and adolescents with thyroid conditions.

    Contact the Pediatric Surgery Program at: 617-726-8839

    Pediatric Surgery home

Currently Browsing:Radiation Oncology

  • Thoracic Program

    Specialists in the Department of Radiation Oncology's Thoracic Program treat patients with lung and esophageal cancers and other tumors of the chest using the latest radiation therapies.

Currently Browsing:Surgical Oncology

  • Endocrine Surgery Program

    The Massachusetts General Hospital Endocrine Surgery Program provides comprehensive, expert treatment for diseases of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands, including thyroid cancer.

    Request an appointment Refer a patient

    Call to refer a patient or request an appointment: 617-643-7359

About This Condition

Thyroid Cancer: Targeted Therapy

What is targeted therapy?

Targeted therapies use medicines designed to turn off cancer cell's ability to grow and to spread. They target only cancer cells, rather than all rapidly growing cells like chemotherapy does.

When might targeted therapy be used for thyroid cancer?

Doctors have found that targeted therapy is especially useful in treating medullary thyroid cancers (MTCs), which do not respond to the usual iodine- and hormone-based treatments that work for the other types of thyroid cancer.

Papillary or follicular thyroid cancers that don't respond to the usual treatments may be treated with targeted therapy, too.

How is targeted therapy given for thyroid cancer?

Some of the targeted therapy medicines used to treat MTCs are:

  • Vandetanib

  • Cabozantinib

Both of these are taken at home as a pill once a day. Other targeted therapy medicines might be tried if neither of these work.

Targeted therapy medicines that may be used to treat papillary or follicular thyroid cancers are:

  • Sorafenib

  • Lenvatinib

These are taken at home as pills.

What are common side effects of targeted therapy?

Some of the more common temporary side effects from targeted therapy include:

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

  • Constipation

  • High blood pressure

  • Headache

  • Tiredness or fatigue

  • Decreased appetite and weight loss

  • Mouth sores

  • Skin problems, such as dryness, rash, blistering, or darkening skin

  • Hand-foot syndrome (redness, pain, and swelling in hands or feet)

  • Belly pain

Most of these side effects will go away or get better after treatment ends. You may also be able to help control some of these side effects. These medicines can also rarely cause severe side effects like infection, changes in heart rhythm, or severe bleeding. Tell your healthcare providers about any side effects you have. They can help you cope with the side effects.

Working with your healthcare provider

It's important to know which medicines you're taking. Write your medicines down, and ask your healthcare team how they work and what side effects they might have. Also be sure to talk about any herbs, vitamins, and supplements you take, as some of these might cause interactions with your targeted therapy.

Talk with your healthcare providers about what signs to look for and when to call them. For example, some types of targeted therapy can make you more likely to get infections. Make sure you know what number to call with questions. Is there a different number for evenings and weekends?

It may be helpful to keep a diary of your side effects. Write down physical, thinking, and emotional changes. A written list will make it easier for you to remember your questions when you go to your appointments. It will also make it easier for you to work with your healthcare team to make a plan to manage your side effects.

 

 

 

 

Patient Education

  • The PACT Program

    The Marjorie E. Korff PACT program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center provides psycho-educational support for parents who are patients.