A 21-year-old member asked:
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how is thyroid cancer diagnosed?

5 doctor answers
Dr. Davis Liu
Dr. Davis Liu answered
24 years experience Family Medicine
Examination: Suspicion for a thyroid cancer is often discovered by a physical examination, first discovered by a patient and then verified by a doctor. A biopsy is needed which can confirm the diagnosis.
Answered on May 15, 2013
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Dr. Susan Wingo
33 years experience Endocrinology
It takes cells.: Thyroid cancer may be suspected on the basis of seeing or feeling a lump on the neck, or abnormal imaging results, but it takes cells on a microscope slide to prove it. Usually cells are obtaining by inserting a needle into a thyroid mass, and withdrawing a small amount of liquid, and cells, into the needle. This test is called an fna, or fine needle aspiration.
Answered on Jun 21, 2016
Dr. Susan Wingo
33 years experience Endocrinology
If FNA is unclear: Sometimes, the fna is inconclusive. In that case, it can repeated, or it may be necessary to have surgery to remove some or all of the thyroid to make the diagnosis of thyroid cancer, or to know for sure that there is no thyroid cancer.
Answered on Jan 25, 2020
2
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Dr. Quang Nguyen
Specializes in Endocrinology
FNA or surgery: The best way to diagnose thyroid cancer is in surgery. The surgical specimen give you the most tissue to look at. It can also give you a "gross" view of whether the nodule had spread through the thyroid capsule (an indication of cancer). That being said, most patients don't jump to surgery right away. In that case, an ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration is often perform to eval cancer.
Answered on Dec 27, 2018
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Dr. inderjit Deol
41 years experience Pathology
Fine needle aspiration should be the first step for thyroid nodule. Sometimes, it does give a definitive answer, then patient is taken to the operative room to get a tiny fragment of tumor for frozen section diagnosis (quick diagnosis during surgery). Usually. it gives the definitive diagnosis within minutes. Then surgeon can decide the next step. patient may or may not need total thyroid removal.
May 25, 2015
Dr. Michael Wolfe
23 years experience Head and Neck Surgery
Ultrasound should be used first. FIne needle aspiration biopsy is used for nodules larger than 1-1.5 cm or suspicious nodules. About 5% of nodules can be thyroid cancer. Surgery is reserved for known cancer, some tumors that needle biopsy cannot characterize, large nodules, lumps that can cause symptoms, or high thyroid hormone.
Feb 2, 2014
Dr. Stephanie Lee
41 years experience Endocrinology
Thyroid cancer: The gold standard is by ultrasound guided fine needle biopsy of a thyroid nodule.
Answered on Nov 16, 2016

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