Activatable theranostic nanomedicines involved in photothermal therapy (PTT) have received constant attention as promising alternatives to traditional therapies in clinic. However, the theranostic nanomedicines widely suffer from instability and complicated nanostructures, which hamper potential clinical applications. Herein, we demonstrated a terrylenediimide (TDI)-poly(acrylic acid) (TPA)-based nanomedicine (TNM) platform used as an intrinsic theranostic agent. As an exploratory paradigm in seeking biomedical applications, TDI was modified with poly(acrylic acid)s (PAAs), resulting in eight-armed, star-like TPAs composed of an outside hydrophilic PAA corona and an inner hydrophobic TDI core. TNMs were readily fabricated via spontaneous self-assembly. Without additional vehicle and cargo, the as-prepared TNMs possessed a robust nanostructure and high photothermal conversion efficiency up to approximately 41%. The intrinsic theranostic properties of TNMs for use in photoacoustic (PA) imaging by a multispectral optoacoustic tomography system and in mediating photoinduced tumor ablation were intensely explored. Our results suggested that the TNMs could be successfully exploited as intrinsic theranostic agents for PA imaging-guided efficient tumor PTT. Thus, these TNMs hold great potential for (pre)clinical translational development.