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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Thyroid Cancer, Version 1.2017


Testing Medical history and physical exam | Blood tests

Part 2 discusses tests used to diagnose

thyroid cancer. Doctors will test your blood

and tissue samples to confirm a diagnosis

of cancer. The test results will help your

doctors and you decide on a treatment


Medical history and physical


Two basic tools of diagnosis are when your doctor

takes your medical history and does an exam of

your body. Your doctor will ask about your medical

history, which should include everything that has ever

happened to you related to your health.

Your doctor will ask you about:



Health events in your life including surgeries,

accidents, and past illnesses



Recent sickness



Medications you are taking now and those you

may be allergic to

It is helpful to keep a list of your meds.

Include any supplements and over-the-

counter medicine you take.



Family history of disease such as cancer, heart

disease, or diabetes

When the doctor checks your body for signs of

disease, it is called a physical exam. Doctors often

perform a physical exam along with taking a medical


Your doctor will check your:



Eyes, ears, nose, and neck



Lungs, heart, and belly (abdomen)



Body by feeling and using pressure to see

if organs are of normal size, soft or hard, or

cause pain when touched

Blood tests

Blood tests can be done for many reasons including

during a routine visit. The results will give the doctor

a picture of what is going on in your body. He or she

may learn about an unknown disease in the body

that has no symptoms, or check for disease like

cancer. Blood tests give your doctors information to

plan the next steps for other testing or treatment.

Blood tests for thyroid cancer may


Complete blood count with differential

One of the most common blood tests is the CBC







ount). The CBC is a measure

of the various types of cells found in the blood.

This test checks the number of white blood cells

(fight infection), red blood cells (carry oxygen), and

platelets (form blood clots). These numbers are then

compared to the normal range for those cells in a

healthy person who is about your age. The CBC

does not tell doctors if you have thyroid cancer.

Comprehensive metabolic panel

Proteins, electrolytes, and other substances in your

blood come from your liver, bone, and other organs.

A comprehensive metabolic panel often includes

tests for up to 14 of these. The tests show if the

levels of proteins or electrolytes are too low or high.

Abnormal levels can be caused by cancer or other

health problems. These tests will allow your doctor to

assess if the kidneys and liver are functioning well.