Thyroid Scan (cont.)
Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C)
Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C) is an Attending Physician with the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and Associate Director of Clinical Research, Recruitment and Phenotyping with the Center for Androgen Related Disorders, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- What is the thyroid gland?
- How is the thyroid scan performed?
- When is thyroid scanning helpful?
- What is significant about whether a nodule is "hot" or "cold?"
What is significant about whether a nodule is "hot" or "cold?"
Functioning or "hot" nodules only rarely are from cancer. Nearly all thyroid cancers are nonfunctioning or "cold" nodules. Moreover, even among "cold" nodules, cancer is infrequent (less than 5 percent of cases).
While the thought of taking something "radioactive" is not very appealing, it is important to remember that iodine concentrates only in thyroid tissue, making this test safe and also quite specific for thyroid disorders.
A thyroid scan can provide information on both the structure as well as the function of the thyroid gland. This information can help you and your physician determine if further investigations, procedures, or medications may be worthwhile.
Medically reviewed by John A. Seibel, MD; Board Certified Internal Medicine with a subspecialty in Endocrinology & Metabolism
National Institutes of Health
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