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While most thyroid gland nodules are non-cancerous, others are not and those may spread into nearby tissues and other parts of the body.

Importance of Thyroid Cancer Screening

Patients with a family history of thyroid cancer are encouraged to get screened. Even if a person has a risk factor for thyroid cancer, it is very hard to know how much it may contribute to the cancer. Risk factors that are more likely to lead to thyroid cancer include:

  • Gender and age, especially women age 40 to 60 and men age 60 to 80
  • Hereditary conditions
  • Family history
  • Exposure to radiation as a child, such as X-rays
  • Being overweight or obese
  • A diet high in iodine

The thyroid gland has 2 main types of cells: Follicular cells which regulate a person’s metabolism and C cells (also called parafollicular cells) which control how the body uses calcium. Other, less common cells include immune system cells and supportive cells.

Many types of growths and tumors (called nodules) can develop in the thyroid gland. While most are non-cancerous, others are not and those may spread into nearby tissues and other parts of the body. The differences are important because they affect how serious the cancer is and what type of treatment will be needed.


What to Expect

Our coordinated center in Fairfax offers disease expertise on cancer and prevention as we work through your health risk assessment. We will create a customized plan based on your risk level to incorporate screenings, education, prevention and overall wellness. We offer the latest technology for our screenings and procedures to make sure you are taken care of on every level.

If your provider determines you need a nodule evaluated, you will be scheduled for a diagnostic ultrasound called a fine needle aspiration (FNA). This outpatient procedure uses a very fine needle that collects a sample to help rule out cancer. FNA diagnostic results will be returned within one hour.

If a biopsy is required, pathology and radiology experts will walk you through the process. The appointment lasts one hour, while the actual procedure takes no longer than 15 minutes. This includes acquisition of tissue specimens and the preliminary review by the onsite pathologist. Other thyroid cancer treatments include:

  • Surgery
  • Radioactive Iodine (Radioiodine) Therapy
  • Thyroid Hormone Therapy
  • External Beam Radiation Therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted Drug Therapy
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Please note that this request is for Saville screening and diagnostic services only. Any related or follow-up services will require separate scheduling.