Cancer screening exams are important medical tests done when you’re healthy and don’t have symptoms. They help find cancer at its earliest stage, when the chances for curing it are best. Unfortunately, standardized screening tests have not been shown to improve thyroid cancer outcomes.
Although thyroid cancer sometimes has no symptoms, many tumors are found in the early stages when patients or their doctors find lumps or nodules in their throats. Some doctors suggest you examine your neck carefully twice a year. Be sure your doctor includes a cancer-related exam in your annual exam.
If other people in your family have or had familial medullary thyroid cancer, you and your children should have blood tests as early as possible to find out if you have the gene that causes this cancer. If you or your children have the gene, your doctor may suggest surgically removing the thyroid gland to lower the risk of cancer. More than 90% of people with the gene develop thyroid cancer.