If your doctor wants to conduct a thyroid ultrasound scan to investigate a lump in your thyroid gland, you might be worried about whether it could be caused by thyroid cancer. Cancer is one of the possible causes of a growth or an enlarged thyroid, but it is also possible that you have a benign lump that doesn’t pose a risk.
How Is Thyroid Cancer Diagnosed?
An enlarged thyroid gland is the most common symptom thyroid cancer, although it can also be caused by other conditions. You might also develop other symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, hoarseness or a sore throat. If your doctor can feel a growth on your thyroid, a thyroid ultrasound scan may be conducted to get a closer look at it. The appearance of the lump can tell your doctor whether it is likely to be benign or if it would be a good idea to conduct a biopsy. You might also be offered a thyroid ultrasound scan if a blood test has shown that your thyroid function is lower than it should be. A biopsy can then be conducted if anything unusual is detected. During the biopsy, a small sample of the thyroid lump will be taken through a fine needle. It can then be tested in the lab to determine if the lump is cancerous and if so, what sort of thyroid cancer you have.
What Are the Treatments for Thyroid Cancer?
If the results show that you do indeed have thyroid cancer, a treatment plan will be drawn up according to the type of cancer and how advanced it has become. Many thyroid cancers can be successfully treated, but it can be more difficult if the cancer is large or if it has spread. The most common treatments for thyroid cancer are surgery to remove the whole thyroid gland and radiotherapy using radioactive iodine, which will target and eliminate cancer cells in your thyroid.