13 doctors weighed in:
How is thyroid cancer diagnosed?
13 doctors weighed in

Dr. Quang Nguyen
Internal Medicine - Endocrinology
6 doctors agree
In brief: 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.

In brief: 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.
Dr. Quang Nguyen
Dr. Quang Nguyen
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2 comments
Dr. Michael Wolfe
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.
Dr. Inderjit Deol
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.
Dr. Susan Wingo
Internal Medicine - Endocrinology
2 doctors agree
In brief: 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.

In brief: 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.
Dr. Susan Wingo
Dr. Susan Wingo
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Dr. Stephanie Lee
Internal Medicine - Endocrinology
In brief: Thyroid cancer
The gold standard is by ultrasound guided fine needle biopsy of a thyroid nodule.

In brief: Thyroid cancer
The gold standard is by ultrasound guided fine needle biopsy of a thyroid nodule.
Dr. Stephanie Lee
Dr. Stephanie Lee
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Dr. Susan Wingo
Internal Medicine - Endocrinology
In brief: 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.

In brief: 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.
Dr. Susan Wingo
Dr. Susan Wingo
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Dr. Davis Liu
Family Medicine
In brief: 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.

In brief: 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.
Dr. Davis Liu
Dr. Davis Liu
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