Thyroid Cancer (cont.)
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How is staging determined for thyroid cancer?
If the biopsy shows that you have cancer, your doctor will need to learn the extent (stage) of the disease to help you choose the best treatment.
The stage is based on the size of the nodule and whether the cancer has invaded nearby tissues or spread to other parts of the body. Thyroid cancer spreads most often to nearby tissues in the neck or to lymph nodes. It may also spread to the lungs and bones.
When cancer spreads from its original place to another part of the body, the new tumor has the same kind of cancer cells and the same name as the original tumor. For example, if thyroid cancer spreads to the lungs, the cancer cells in the lungs are actually thyroid cancer cells. The disease is metastatic thyroid cancer, not lung cancer. It's treated as thyroid cancer, not as lung cancer. Doctors sometimes call the new tumor in the lung “distant” disease.
Staging may involve one or more of these tests:
Reviewed on 5/7/2012
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