Screening for Thyroid Cancer
]]>Main Page]]> | ]]>Risk Factors]]> | ]]>Reducing Your Risk]]> | Screening | ]]>Symptoms]]> | ]]>Diagnosis]]> | ]]>Treatment Overview]]> | ]]>Chemotherapy]]> | ]]>Radiation Therapy]]> | ]]>Surgical Procedures]]> | ]]>Hormonal Therapy]]> | ]]>Lifestyle Changes]]> | ]]>Living With Thyroid Cancer]]> | ]]>Talking to Your Doctor]]> | ]]>Resource Guide]]>
Screening is a way to evaluate people without symptoms to determine if they are at risk for cancer or have already developed cancer.
- Assessing your medical history and lifestyle habits that may increase or decrease your risk of thyroid cancer
- Testing to identify early signs of thyroid cancer
According to the US Preventive Services Task Force, there are no official screening guidelines for thyroid cancer. Testing is only recommended for people who are experiencing symptoms suggestive of thyroid cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, all people between the ages of 21 and 40 should have their neck, lymph nodes, and the area directly over their thyroid gland examined (palpated) every year.
There are some healthcare providers who think that people with a higher-than-normal risk of thyroid cancer should be periodically screened. Factors that lead to a higher-than-normal risk include the following:
- A history of exposure to radiation
- Family members with either multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) associated thyroid cancer or non-MEN associated thyroid cancer
If members of your family have a genetic defect (a change or mutation in the RET gene) that increases the risk of medullary thyroid cancer, you should strongly consider having genetic testing done to determine your personal risk and the risk of transmitting this gene to your children. The screening blood tests include: calcitonin and RET proto-oncogene. This type of cancer may arise during childhood and at a very young age. Thus families may wish to openly discuss the risks and benefits of genetic testing to determine the frequency of screening among members.
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Rachmiel M, Charron M, Gupta A, et al. Evidence-based review of treatment and follow up of pediatric patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2006;19:1377-1393.
Report of the US Preventive Services Task Force: Screening for thyroid cancer. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website. Available at: http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstf/uspsthca.htm .
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What is thyroid cancer? American Cancer Society website. Available at http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/CRI_2_3x.asp?dt=43 . Accessed December 10, 2002.
What you need to know about cancer of the thyroid. National Cancer Institute website. Available at http://cancer.gov/cancer_information/ . Accessed December 10, 2002.
Last reviewed November 2008 by ]]>Mohei Abouzied, MD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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