Cancer Home > Thyroid Cancer

How Is It Diagnosed?

If a person has possible symptoms, the doctor will usually need to perform a physical exam, ask about the person's personal and family medical history, and recommend additional tests and procedures that examine the thyroid.
 
The exams and tests that are used to make a thyroid cancer diagnosis may include:
 
  • Blood tests
  • Ultrasound
  • Radionuclide scanning
  • Biopsy.
 
(Click Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis for more information.)
 

Thyroid Cancer Staging

If the doctor makes a thyroid cancer diagnosis, he or she will need to determine the stage, or extent, of the disease to plan treatment. Staging is an attempt to find out the size of the tumor, whether the disease has spread, and, if so, to what parts of the body.
 
The following tests and procedures may be used in thyroid cancer staging:
 
  • Ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Radionuclide scan (diagnostic I-131 whole body scan).
 
The staging will depend, in part, on the type of thyroid cancer a person has.
 
(Click Thyroid Cancer Staging for more information on the particular stages.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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