The first step in treating your child is forming an accurate and complete diagnosis. Some children with thyroid cancer do experience symptoms—such as a lump in the neck. Others are diagnosed before presenting any symptoms, which is why it is so important to take your child for regular check-ups. In order to diagnose thyroid cancer, your child’s physician will take a complete medical history and conduct a physical examination. Your child’s physician may also perform other diagnostic procedures, including:
- Blood tests, to see if the thyroid is functioning properly
- An ultrasound (also called sonography) to confirm the presence of a thyroid mass
Like other cancers, the outcome of thyroid cancer is best when it is diagnosed and treated in its early stages. Our thyroid program is designed to rapidly evaluate patients with thyroid masses in order to triage them to best individualized treatment (or to observation without treatment if their evaluation is reassuring).
Because medullary thyroid cancer can sometimes occurs as part of a genetic disease, genetic testing is typically offered when medullary thyroid cancer is diagnosed. If this testing shows that your child carries a genetic risk, your child’s physician will monitor your child and, in some cases, may suggest a prophylactic removal of your child’s thyroid.
After we complete all necessary tests, our experts meet to review and discuss what they have learned about your child's condition. Then we will meet with you and your family to discuss the results and outline the best treatment options.
Resources for your family
Our For Patients and Families website offers a wealth of general information and resources.