Thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer is a rare cancer type. Approximately 700 people in the Netherlands are diagnosed with a type of thyroid cancer every year. There are four main types of thyroid cancer: papillary thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer, anaplastic thyroid cancer, and medullary thyroid cancer. Papillary and follicular thyroid cancer (80-90% of all cases of thyroid cancer) are treated with high success rates.

Find out more about our expertise, and the causes and symptoms, and the most commonly used diagnostic tests and treatment types for thyroid cancer on this page.


Why the NKI?

  • The dedicated multidisciplinary team at the NKI has experience and expertise in thyroid cancer treatment.
  • We fully integrate research and care which allows us to treat all our patients in accordance with the latest developments and treatment options, including the possibility of participating in a trial.
  • All possible treatment options are available at the NKI.
  • Close collaboration with UMC Utrecht (shared meetings and collaboration with the endocrinologists)
  • Strong focus on shared decision making and care-support from our Survivorship Center, which offers psychological and nutritional guidance.

Causes and symptoms thyroid cancer

The cause of thyroid cancer is currently unknown. We are aware of several risk factors, however: radiation treatment in the neck can increase the risk of developing thyroid cancer, especially in younger people.

Common symptoms of thyroid cancer are:

  • swelling in the neck that moves when swallowing
  • hoarseness;
  • trouble swallowing
  • you can feel a mess in your neck, sometimes it's painful.


The following diagnostic tests may be done to confirm or rule out thyroid cancer:

Treatment options thyroid cancer

Your exact treatment options will depend on the tumor type and stage. Your overall health and shape will also affect your options. We will inform you about the process beforehand, and you will have plenty of time to ask questions. Your treatment will most likely consist of one or more of the following treatments:

Treatment team

Your treatment team will consist of surgeons, internists (medical oncologists), nuclear health specialists, and radiologists. Our specialists excel at thyroid cancer and come together every week for a multidisciplinary team meeting during which they will discuss your personal situation, test results, and medical history in order to find the treatment option that best fits you. Your practicing physician will discuss your options with you. At the Netherlands Cancer Institute, we value your thoughts and input on your treatment.

Read more about making an appointment or second opinion


Next to its clinical work, the Netherlands Cancer Institute is a distinguished cancer research institute. 700 enthusiastic researchers work hard every day to gain a better understanding of the development and treatment of cancer. Many of our trials concern thyroid tumors. If we find a trial that is suitable for you, your practicing physician will discuss this with you.

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