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The Center for Endocrine Tumors at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center is a comprehensive program specializing in the treatment of thyroid enlargement (goiter) and all types of thyroid tumors, including:
Although many thyroid nodules are benign (non-cancerous), our program combines the resources of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and the Mass General Thyroid Unit to provide advanced treatment for all patients with thyroid tumors. Read frequently asked questions about thyroid nodules, including causes, diagnosis and treatment options.
Our program is one of the largest and most specialized in the country. Thyroid specialists at Massachusetts General Hospital have greatly advanced the care and treatment of thyroid conditions and provide:
An accurate diagnosis is the key to planning the right treatment. Our expert pathologists are highly sub-specialized in diagnosing thyroid conditions. Our program also has the most state-of-the-art diagnostic technologies available, including:
The majority of thyroid nodules are benign; however, many need to be evaluated in the event that they could be cancerous. For those that do turn out to be cancer, our program includes an expert team of oncologists, cytologists, pathologists, endocrine surgeons, thoracic surgeons, thyroidologists, radiation oncologist and nuclear medicine physicians, who accurately diagnose and treat these diseases. Some thyroid cancers are less aggressive than other forms of cancer whereas others are more aggressive. With appropriate treatment, the vast majority of patients with thyroid cancer achieve positive outcomes.
The major types of thyroid cancer are:
The standard of care for most types of thyroid or other endocrine cancer is surgery, which in some cases of well-differentiated thyroid cancer is followed by radioactive iodine therapy. This therapy, first developed at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1936, has been shown to be highly effective in improving outcomes for patients.
More aggressive types of cancer, as well as metastatic cancers, may be treated with chemotherapy in conjunction with radiation therapy and surgery. Our program is one of only a few in the country that specialize in treating these cancers. Our team has helped increase treatment options for thyroid cancer patients by demonstrating that there are a variety of effective chemotherapies. In addition, our physicians are engaged in ongoing clinical trials of targeted therapies to find new, targeted treatments.
Our endocrine surgery program is one of the oldest and most innovative in the country, and is recognized for having among the most specialized surgeons in treating thyroid and endocrine disorders. This high level of expertise has resulted in a high volume practice and research has shown that centers that perform a higher volume of surgical procedures have better outcomes.
Our surgeons use the most up-to-date technologies, including recurrent laryngeal nerve monitoring, and have pioneered and continue to advance minimally invasive techniques. Our goal is to be as conservative as possible with surgery without compromising care. Extreme attention is paid to the cosmetic appearance of the incision and to make the approach as minimally invasive as possible.
Among the surgical procedures that may be indicated for the treatment of thyroid conditions are:
Learn more about Endocrine Surgical Care
External radiation is not a common treatment for thyroid tumors, but it may be used to treat poorly differentiated, medullary, anaplastic and some cases of well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma. The most commonly used technique is external beam radiation therapy. Some patients with metastatic cancer may receive proton beam therapy, a technique pioneered at Mass General, which is able to target a very precise region while helping to spare surrounding tissues.
In addition to leading clinical trials, our researchers are working to produce animal models that mimic human forms of these diseases. All these levels of research will work to advance therapies for thyroid and endocrine conditions and improve the lives of our patients.
The Massachusetts General Hospital–Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Advanced Thyroid Cancer Center provides unique multidisciplinary tertiary care for patients with advanced thyroid malignancy.
Learn more about the Advanced Thyroid Cancer Center.
Patients in the Center for Endocrine Tumors are cared for by a coordinated team of experts, which may include:
See our multidisciplinary team of endocrine tumor specialists
Up until five or six years ago, medicine had little to offer advanced or aggressive forms of thyroid cancer. Today, that has changed thanks to much of the work being done in our program. Our physicians are leading or enrolled in numerous clinical trials aimed at discovering targeted therapies for these cancers.
View our open clinical trials
Phone: (617) 726-5130
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