Differences in long-term quality of life between hemithyroidectomy and total thyroidectomy in patients treated for low-risk differentiated thyroid carcinoma

Surgery. 2020 Jan;167(1):94-101. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2019.04.060. Epub 2019 Oct 15.


Background: The long-term health-related quality-of-life implications of treating low-risk differentiated thyroid cancer with total thyroidectomy or hemithyroidectomy is important to patients but remains poorly understood.

Methods: Using a cross-sectional mailed survey, we compared long-term health-related quality-of-life in low-risk differentiated thyroid cancer survivors treated with hemithyroidectomy to those treated with total thyroidectomy between 2005 and 2016 at a university hospital. European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life core Questionnaire version 3.0, the supplementary Thyroid Cancer specific questionnaire module version 2.0, and the Assessment of Survivor Concerns (ASC) questionnaires were used. Our primary outcome was the global scale of quality of life. Exploratory outcomes included differences among other health-related quality-of-life items corrected for potential confounders in multivariable regression analyses.

Results: The response rate was 51.0% (270 of 529), of which 59 patients (21.9%) were treated with hemithyroidectomy. Main outcome score global quality of life did not differ between groups (76.9 hemithyroidectomy vs 77.7 total thyroidectomy, P = .450). Exploratory analyses showed hemithyroidectomy to be associated with more worry about recurrence on the Assessment of Survivor Concerns questionnaire (2.4 hemithyroidectomy vs 2.1 total thyroidectomy, P = .021).

Conclusion: Long-term quality of life was not significantly different between low-risk differentiated thyroid cancer patients treated with total thyroidectomy compared with hemithyroidectomy. In secondary analyses, worry about recurrence appeared to be higher in individuals treated with hemithyroidectomy. These data highlight previously unreported impact of surgical regimen to the health-related quality-of-life for low-risk differentiated thyroid cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cancer Survivors / psychology*
  • Cancer Survivors / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / prevention & control
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / psychology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / statistics & numerical data
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / psychology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Thyroidectomy / adverse effects*
  • Thyroidectomy / methods