Exams and Tests
In order to diagnose thyroid cancer, your doctor will ask about your medical history and do a Reference physical exam Opens New Window.
Your doctor may check your vocal cords using a thin tube-like instrument that has a light (laryngoscope).
Your doctor may order a Reference CT scan or an Reference ultrasound to get a better look at your thyroid. If your doctor thinks that the lump or nodule could be cancerous, he or she may do a Reference fine needle biopsy of the thyroid gland.
You may also have blood tests to check the levels of your Reference thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) Opens New Window, Reference serum calcitonin Opens New Window, or Reference carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA).
Other tests may be done before, during, or after your treatment for thyroid cancer.
- Reference Serum thyroglobulin level tests check for cancer.
- Reference Radioactive iodine scans help your doctor find out whether thyroid cancer has spread beyond the thyroid gland.
- Reference Thyroid ultrasound is a safe and simple way to find out whether a thyroid nodule is solid or fluid-filled (Reference cystic Opens New Window). It can also detect multiple thyroid Reference nodules Opens New Window.
If you have medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), a CT scan of the chest and belly and a Reference bone scan may also be needed.
At this time there are not any screening tests for thyroid cancer that work well for people at average risk. Talk to your doctor about whether you need to be screened for thyroid cancer.
People who have a family history of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) may want to have a Reference genetic test to look for a gene change called an RET mutation. Before you have the test, it is a good idea to talk with a Reference genetic counselor Opens New Window. He or she can help you understand what your test results may mean.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 22, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Matthew I. Kim, MD - Endocrinology