This prospective, observational study of a cohort of thyroid cancer patients in Germany focusses on the "real-world" practice in the management of thyroid cancer patients. This report includes data from 2376 patients with primary differentiated thyroid carcinoma first diagnosed in the year 1996. The study reveals considerable differences in actual practice concerning surgery and radioiodine treatment. The results indicate that consensus is lacking with respect to the multimodality treatment approach for differentiated thyroid carcinoma. Our analysis represents the most current and comprehensive national assessment of presenting patient characteristics, diagnostic tests, treatment and complications for thyroid cancer.