Thyroid cancer

Our consultants work in the UK’s largest centre for thyroid cancer treating more patients than any other hospital in the country.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has among the most experienced clinicians in treating thyroid cancer. Working together with other specialists as part of a multidisciplinary team, they are able to offer the best possible treatment for patients. The two thyroid surgeons form the largest department of Endocrine and Thyroid Surgery in the UK performing in excess of 500 neck operations annually. We have the only centre in the UK that can offer robotic assisted thyroid surgery. Robotic surgery can reduce a hospital stay by two thirds, compared to a stay in other teaching hospitals, as complications from surgery are likely to be much lower and recovery is easier.

Our services at Charing Cross, Hammersmith and St Mary’s hospitals have an excellent reputation due to our highly expert clinicians and the pioneering treatments we can offer.

As a private patient, you will benefit from being treated at our centre because:

  • Our clinicians treat the largest number of newly diagnosed thyroid cancer patients in the country which means your treatment will be managed by a highly-experienced multi-disciplinary team of experts
  • Your consultant-led team will discuss with you the treatment options and involve you at every stage in an individualised treatment plan
  • Our two dedicated surgeons for thyroid surgery, Mr Fausto Palazzo and Professor Neil Tolley, have a national and international reputation and are leaders in their field
  • Our expertise means we achieve excellent outcomes for our thyroid cancer patients. Mr Palazzo and Professor Tolley contribute to the national thyroid database and their outcomes can be viewed on-line at www.BAETS.org.uk
  • We have access to the very latest in molecular targeted therapies (newer types of anti-cancer drugs) through our affiliation to Imperial College Healthcare and the world-renowned Imperial College London research institution.

Your thyroid cancer diagnosis

Thyroid cancer is a type of head and neck cancer that affects the thyroid gland, a small gland at the base of the neck that produces hormones. It is more common in women.

As one of our private patients we commit to delivering an accurate diagnosis and an individualised treatment plan for your care. During your diagnosis you will have blood tests, an ultrasound scan of your neck and a needle biopsy (a test to take a small sample from the tumour).

With this information your consultant and expert clinical team will recommend the best possible treatment options for you, which you will then agree in partnership.

Your treatment for thyroid cancer

Your care will be managed by a consultant-led multi-disciplinary team including; surgeons, oncologists (cancer specialists), radiologists, pathologists and specialist thyroid nurses.

They will discuss your treatment options with you, depending on the size and type of thyroid cancer diagnosed.

The main treatments are:


Surgery to remove part or all of your thyroid gland. This is the most common treatment for thyroid cancer. Our surgeons have a national and international reputation performing more thyroid surgery than any other centre in the UK and for cancer in particular.

Professor Neil Tolley, a world-renowned consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon, has also pioneered robotic-assisted minimally-invasive surgery which does not leave a scar on the neck although this is currently most suitable for patients with benign (non-cancerous) tumours.

Radioactive iodine treatment

This treatment usually follows surgery. You swallow a radioactive capsule that delivers radioactive Iodine to cancer cells. The iodine is taken up by the thyroid, and then destroys the cells in the thyroid gland.

External beam radiotherapy

This is used to direct beams of radiation at the cancer cells to destroy them. You may have radiotherapy if the radioactive iodine treatment is not suitable or effective.

Targeted therapies

These are new types of anti-cancer drugs which specifically target cancer cells rather than healthy cells.

After treatment you will need to have regular appointments to make sure the cancer does not return.

Key team members

Ear, nose and throat surgeon: Professor Neil Tolley

Endocrine surgeon: Mr Fausto Palazzo

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