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Health Information Center

Screening for Thyroid Cancer

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Screening for Thyroid Cancer

Screening is done to find a problem and treat it early. Tests are given to people who do not have symptoms but who may be at high risk.

Screening Guidelines

There are no current guidelines for general thyroid cancer screening.

People who have certain risks may have tests done. These risks include a family history of medullary thyroid cancer or certain gene changes.

For those at high risk, the doctor may do:

A certain gene change (RET) raises the risk of medullary thyroid cancer. A gene counselor can explain what this means. Not everyone with RET will get cancer.

Some people with this gene change may choose to have their thyroid removed. This will prevent thyroid cancer, but they will need to take thyroid hormone replacement pills for the rest of their life.


  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/anaplastic-thyroid-cancer.
  • Follicular thyroid cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/follicular-thyroid-cancer-21.
  • Medullary thyroid cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/medullary-thyroid-cancer.
  • Papillary thyroid cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/papillary-thyroid-cancer.
  • Thyroid cancer risk factors. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/thyroid-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html.
  • Thyroid cancer screening. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/thyroid/patient/thyroid-screening-pdq.


  • James Cornell, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.