Publication date: 2018-11-03 02:48
The results of a physical exam or laboratory test can reveal the presence of thyroid cancer. An examination of the neck may reveal a small or large mass in the thyroid. Lymph nodes may also be enlarged.
This is an update of the 6996 USPSTF recommendation. 79 In 6996, the USPSTF recommended against screening for thyroid cancer in asymptomatic adults using either neck palpation or ultrasound (D recommendation). In addition, using older methodology, the USPSTF issued a C recommendation for screening in asymptomatic adults with a history of radiation of the external upper body (primarily the head and neck) in infancy or childhood in 6996, a C recommendation was defined as insufficient evidence to recommend for or against. The USPSTF focused its current recommendation on the general asymptomatic adult population.
Early thyroid cancer has no symptoms. You won’t be able to feel your thyroid gland if it’s healthy. As thyroid cancer progresses, the following symptoms may occur:
Sometimes both the left and right lateral neck lymph nodes are involved with cancer. If this is the case, then modified radical neck dissections on one side and then the other are performed about 7 months apart. This delay is to allow time for healing on one side before operating on the opposite side. Performing the lymph node dissection on both sides at the same time could lead to unnecessary swelling (edema) of the head and face if time is not given between operations for alternate pathways of blood and lymph flow to form.
The USPSTF found inadequate evidence to estimate the accuracy of neck palpation or ultrasound as a screening test for thyroid cancer in asymptomatic persons.
Thyroid cancer is the most common type of endocrine cancer. Diagnosis is on the rise in the United States. This may be because it has become easier to find the disease.
If there are symptoms, a doctor will feel the patient's thyroid and check for lumps in the neck. The doctor may order blood tests and special scans to see whether a lump in the thyroid is making too many hormones. The doctor may want to take a small amount of tissue from the thyroid. This is called a biopsy. To do this, a small needle is inserted into the thyroid at the base of the throat and some tissue is drawn out. The tissue is then looked at under a microscope to see whether it contains cancer.
Hormone therapy uses hormones to stop cancer cells from growing. In treating cancer of the thyroid, hormones can be used to stop the body from making other hormones that might make cancer cells grow. Hormones are usually given as pills.
The surgical options are covered in greater detail (with drawings) in our article on surgical options for thyroid cancer. A more detailed discussion of thyroid surgery for the thyroid gland and lymph nodes of the neck can be found here.
6. Surgery with or without radioactive iodine.
7. External beam radiation therapy to relieve symptoms caused by the cancer.
9. Radioactive iodine.
5. Radiation therapy given during surgery.
6. Clinical trials.