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19

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

:

Thyroid Cancer, Version 1.2017

Test results

The results from your TSH, ultrasound, and FNA will

determine your next steps of cancer care. Tests may

happen while a nodule is being watched for change.

They can continue during treatment and after

treatment is over. Blood tests may be done more

often. Imaging tests will be done at a certain time.

Doctors can use NCCN treatment guidelines to

make a care plan. This plan is then based on

recommendations from science and the experience

of NCCN experts. Ask your doctors for more

information when it comes to having a biopsy and

pathology review.

Thyroid cancer changed my life.

- Karen

Finding thyroid nodules

Thyroid nodules may only be seen on an imaging test

like an ultrasound. Most often thyroid nodules are not

cancer. If a nodule is found, it is recommended that 2

tests be done:

†

†

Blood test for the TSH level

†

†

Ultrasound of the thyroid and neck

TSH controls the hormones made by the thyroid

and may be normal or abnormal for people with

thyroid cancer. If the TSH is low (which may

indicate hyperthyroidism), your doctor may order a

radioiodine imaging uptake test.

You will be given a small amount of radioactive

iodine about 3 to 6 hours before a scan of the

thyroid. The test itself only takes about 10 minutes.

It will show how much of the thyroid takes up iodine.

Too much or too little could indicate other thyroid

problems, like hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) or

hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).

A radioiodine imaging test could find that the thyroid

nodule is autonomously functioning. This means it is

functioning on its own without the need for TSH. This

is also sometimes called a “hot nodule.” If the nodule

is “hot” it most likely is not cancer. You may have an

FNA if the nodule is hypofunctional (low functioning)

or “cold.”

If the nodule is most likely not cancer, it may be

followed by an ultrasound in 6 to 12 months. If no

change is seen, then you will have an ultrasound

in 1 to 2 years, and if still no change then every 3

to 5 years after that. You may have an FNA with or

without an ultrasound if the nodule is hypofunctional.

2

Testing

Test results