We understand that people with cancer are worried about coronavirus. Here is the latest guidance. We will update it regularly.

Head and neck cancer

A place for people affected by head and neck cancers, including oral, throat , larynx (voice box), salivary glands, middle ear, and sinus and nasopharyngeal cancer. Support one another, ask questions, and share experiences.

? Thyroid cancer now, is it possible?

Posted by


My husband had a full load of bloods done as part of his routine MOT because he hit 60. He went back today and saw the nurse and she said his thyroid result is high, 27.65 and the normal is between 0.34 & 5.6.

He doesn't have any symptoms of being hyperthyroid, his throat area looks noticeable but this I'm sure has been since his dissection 15mths ago.

My question is can SCC H&N cancer HPV (unknown primary but tonsils removed as most likely there) spread to the thyroid and would it cause the thyroxin levels to rise?? or can radiotherapy cause the thyroid to make too much?

He had radiotherapy and chemo in nov/dec 2015 followed by neck dissection in dec 2016 due to lymph nodes showing cancer again, we were told one of the lymph nodes had extra capsular spread.

Clear MRI in November last year.

He has GP appointment tomorrow to discuss the thyroid but coincidently we have the check up at H&N late afternoon too.

Just trying to get some info before tomorrow as interest search isn't very clear to me.

many thanks

Posted by

after looking up results I think its the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) she's given him and that high, which on reading means underactive thyroid not over active!

he still doesn't seem to have those symptoms and I  guess still raises the same questions.

Posted by

Hello Camelot

Radiotherapy to the neck area can cause an underactive thyroid a year or two later. That was what happened to me.  There are 2 things they measure, the TSH level and a T4 level.  I have never understood it properly but I know that my TSH showed a higher than normal reading and the T4 showed a lower than normal reading.  

If it is an underactive thyroid it can be easily diagnosed with blood tests and controlled with tablets.  I have a Levothyroxine tablet every morning and I have never had any problems taking it. 

Best wishes to you and your husband. x

"Life might not be the party we were expecting but while we are here we should dance."

Posted by

Hi Camelot

I too developed the under active thyroid over a year after radiotherapy and chemo.  Mine also treated well with 50mg thyroxine tablets daily.  It does seem to happen quite often.

The only problem I have is having to wait 1/2 hour after taking my thyroxine before I can have my milky coffee or something to eat.  I always awake with very dry mouth and water is no help.  

Hope all goes well with check up.

Take care


Posted by

Hello Camelot , I have not suffered from this after my treatment but know of people who have mention how the radiotherapy can affect the thyroid gland . This is the trouble with the internet as it gives conflicting answers so hopefully the Dr will be able to shed some light on it . Good luck with check up .

                                                                              Chris .x

Its sometimes not easy but its worth it !                Click here to find out more

Posted by

Hey there Camelot and Margaret,

I'm one of the thyroid cancer champs here, and if you've any questions about the thyroid, how it works, blood tests etc then please feel free to ask and I can see if I can help answer them.



I have no medical training, everything I post is an opinion or educated guess. It is not medical advice.

Posted by

Thanks everyone

think we will go with the theory of it being caused by the radiotherapy and will see what doctor says tomorrow. It seems far more likely that this is the case rather than the SCC spreading to the thyroid without presenting as another lymph node lump first .... I hope.

The one thing I feel cross about is that this was only discovered because of a routine man check for being 60! not because he's had cancer or to specifically check the thyroid. we would never have known as he's never had a check up blood test from the hospital since the treatment, probably just had the normal pre op blood check prior to the neck dissection which I doubt included thyroid. 

It has never been mentioned to us either so I will be having words about it tomorrow.

Thank you Lass, if its more sinister I will be asking you x

Posted by

Hi Camelot

I think you make a good point - this should have been picked up earlier. My H&N team communicated to my GP at the end of treatment that I would need monitoring for possible anaemia and under active thyroid in the future. (In a print out that also gave the details of my treatment and side-effects I’d had so far) Anaemia I think in the short term - checked with a routine full blood count, and under active thyroid checked every 3 months for a couple of years. This should be routine and the poor GPs won’t know to do it unless they are informed by the Oncology team. 

I hope your thyroid issue is easily sorted and no cause for concern. Good luck.


Posted by

hi everyone

all sorted, he's now started thyroxine 50mcg's daily.

GP said they would only routine check if it came from the hospital to do so. ENT appt on Tuesday said they wouldn't request it as it caused by radiotherapy and should come from oncology so he was to speak to my husbands oncologist and find out.

what he did say was that it is very very rare for SCC to go into the thyroid as secondary, and the fact that my husband is very well himself there was no need for concern, but if things change and we're worried then don't wait for the next appointment, ring beforehand.