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
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 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.