How can my doctor tell if I have a thyroid nodule that is cancerous?
Your doctor can do several different tests. One test is called fine-needle aspiration. Your doctor will take a tissue sample from your thyroid gland and examine it under a microscope to see if it is cancerous. The tissue sample is taken with a very small needle.
Another test your doctor may do is an ultrasound. This test uses sound waves to make a picture of the thyroid’s shape and the size of the nodules. It can help your doctor determine whether the nodule is a solid tumor or a cyst filled with fluid.
A third test is a thyroid scan. Your doctor will inject harmless radioactive iodine into a vein in your arm. The iodine is absorbed by your thyroid gland and makes it “glow” as your doctor takes a special picture. Your doctor can learn about the nodule depending on how much or how little of the iodine shows in the picture.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff