Like most other thyroid cancers, medullary thyroid cancer is often detected during an imaging test or examination for an unrelated health concern. In some cases, a visible lump, or nodule, may appear around the base of the neck – a symptom that can also indicate benign (noncancerous) thyroid conditions like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
A medullary thyroid cancer diagnosis usually begins with a thorough review of the patient’s ultrasound imaging results. A clinician will carefully evaluate the size and shape of the nodule and whether and to what extent the surrounding lymph nodes are affected. Based upon these findings, a fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy may be recommended. An FNA involves using a very thin needle to draw out a small sample of cells for examination under a microscope. Blood work to gauge thyroid function and tumor markers may also be performed, or the thyroid nodule may be surgically removed if it is symptomatic or the physician is confident that it is cancerous.
Medullary thyroid cancer diagnostics at Moffitt Cancer Center
The professionals Moffitt Cancer Center’s Thyroid Clinic take an individualized approach to medullary thyroid cancer diagnosis that considers each patient’s unique health scenario to avoid unnecessary procedures and promptly determine what is at the root of symptoms. Patients at Moffitt can also consult genetic counselors about their individual risk for medullary thyroid cancer and other malignancies that may be inherited.
If you are displaying thyroid cancer symptoms, have a family history of thyroid cancer or would like to speak with one of our oncologists regarding a medullary thyroid cancer diagnosis, contact Moffitt at 1-888-663-3488. You may also submit a new patient registration form online with or without a referral.