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JAMA Patient Page
May 9, 2017

Screening for Thyroid Cancer

JAMA. 2017;317(18):1920. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.5254

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recently published updated recommendations on screening for thyroid cancer.

The thyroid gland sits in the middle of the neck around the windpipe. It makes a hormone called thyroid hormone, which is important for many metabolic functions. There are several different types of thyroid cancers; some are much more serious than others. The most common type is papillary thyroid cancer, which is one of the less serious types. Symptoms of thyroid cancer can include a lump on the neck, trouble breathing or swallowing, or hoarseness. Many thyroid cancers cause no symptoms. For most thyroid cancers, treatment involves surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid gland. Some cancers are also treated with radioactive iodine therapy, external beam radiation, or chemotherapy.