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Thyroid Cancer Screening

Thyroid Cancer Screening for Medullary Thyroid Cancer

The genes in our cells carry the hereditary information from our parents. Researchers have identified an abnormal gene in people with certain forms of thyroid cancer. If tests detect medullary thyroid cancer, the patient may have been born with a certain abnormal gene, which may have led to the cancer. Family members may have also inherited this abnormal gene.
 
There are tests available to determine who has this genetic defect long before any thyroid cancer appears. It is important that the patients and their family members (children, grandchildren, parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews) see a doctor about tests that will show if the abnormal gene is present. These tests are confidential and can be helpful. Family members, including young children, who do not have cancer, but do have this abnormal gene, may reduce their chance of developing medullary thyroid cancer by having surgery to safely remove the thyroid gland (thyroidectomy). When medullary thyroid cancer runs in a family, the doctor may call this "familial medullary thyroid cancer" or "multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome." People with multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome tend to develop other types of cancer.
 

Thyroid Cancer Screening: Final Thoughts

People who think that they may be at risk for thyroid cancer (see Cause of Thyroid Cancer) should talk with their doctor, who may be able to suggest ways to reduce thyroid cancer risk and can plan a schedule for checkups and possible screening.
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Thyroid Cancer Information

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