The first step in diagnosing
thyroid nodules is a
medical history and
physical exam. Thyroid nodules often are found during
a physical exam or during a
CT scan or
ultrasound of the neck, chest, or head done for
another problem. Most people do not find thyroid nodules on their own, because
they are difficult to feel and usually do not cause symptoms.
your doctor finds a thyroid nodule, he or she may refer you to an
endocrinologist for more tests and treatment.
It is possible that the main title of the report Hypothyroidism is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.
Fine-needle aspiration guided by ultrasound. Material that is removed from the nodule is checked for cancer cells. This is a simple procedure that can be done in your doctor's office.
Thyroid ultrasound. Ultrasound uses reflected sound waves to create a picture of
organs and other structures inside your body. Ultrasound cannot show whether a
nodule is cancerous, but it can help your doctor:
Confirm that you have thyroid nodules if
other tests have not been clear.
See what is happening to nodules
that are not going away.
Find your nodule during a thyroid biopsy with a
test. This test checks your level of a hormone called calcitonin as a way to
help find out if you have cancer. This test will probably be done if other
people in your family have had thyroid cancer or any other type of cancer of
This test uses radioactive material and a camera to see how well your thyroid
gland is working and to see if you have
nodule is not cancerous, your doctor will see you regularly to monitor the size of your nodule. He or she
may do other tests, such as checking your
thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels or doing a thyroid
ultrasound. If your nodule grows, other tests or surgery may be needed.
your thyroid gland was removed because of cancer, your doctor may test for
thyroglobulin, a protein made by both normal and cancerous cells. High levels
of thyroglobulin may mean that the cancer has spread (metastasized) to other
parts of your body.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 14, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this