Anaplastic thyroid cancer, is usually too aggressive and invasive to resect. It metastisizes asily and early. Therefore, only a small portion of patients can undergo surgical resection of the cancer for cure. For those patients which are diagnosed at an earlier stage, total thyroidectomy is necessary. It is imperative to perform a full staging to exclude emtastatic disease before consdiering a resection. Thos who have advanced cancer and cannot undergo surgical resection, will benefit from external-beam radiation. Chemotherapy may also be beneficial to patients with anaplastic thyroid cancer.
After the diagnosis of anaplastic thyroid cancer has been established, it is important to see how extensive the disease is. A CT scan of the neck and chest can show how large the tumor is, whether or not it is invading the nearby structures (muscles, trachea or esophagus), and can determine if the disease has spread to the lungs. A flexible laryngoscopy (scope inserted down the throat) can determine if the vocal cords have been affected by the cancer. In addition, NCCN recommends CT of abdomen and pelvsi and even “consider PET and bone scan. (p.30)
Untch BR, Olson JA Jr., Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, thyroid lymphoma, and metastasis to thyroid.Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2006 Jul;15(3):661-79