St. Mary's Medical Center
Cancer Centers of Colorado
750 Wellington Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81501
Thyroid cancer happens when normal cells in the thyroid gland, butterfly-shaped gland in front of the neck, change into abnormal cells and grow out of control. Your thyroid produces a metabolism controlling hormone. Once you are diagnosed with thyroid cancer, you can trust us for education, what to expect and next steps after a diagnosis.
When you’re diagnosed, every day counts. If you are diagnosed with thyroid cancer, we’ll help you review and understand your options so you can quickly move to treatment.
Thyroid cancer detection and diagnosis
Early on, you might not notice any symptoms and only find out you have thyroid cancer after your doctor does an imaging test of your neck for another reason. When thyroid cancer causes symptoms, the most common symptom is a growth (called a “nodule”) on the thyroid gland. You can sometimes feel this growth, or it may be found by a doctor during an examination. This growth usually gets bigger in a short amount of time.
Sometimes the first sign of thyroid cancer is an abnormal finding during your annual preventive care visit. Or you may have symptoms, such as hoarseness or being unable to talk, trouble breathing or swallowing, a persistent cough or coughing up blood.
In order to confirm a cancer diagnosis, your doctor may do exams and diagnostic tests, which may include:
- Blood - A variety of blood tests will be used to see if your thyroid gland is producing the correct hormones at the right levels
- Imaging - This test will be used to look at the size of the thyroid as well as determine the location of the nodules
- Biopsy – A sample of tissue that is examined for the presence of cancer cells
Read about our imaging services or about biopsy testing.
Learn more about thyroid cancer and how it is diagnosed.
Innovative techniques and technologies offered
We target thyroid tumors with some of the most advanced treatments and technology available. In the hands of our experts, tools such as these can lead to optimal results and improved survival rates. Throughout our system, our advanced offerings include:
- da Vinci® robot – A robotic surgical system designed to facilitate complex surgery using a minimally invasive approach. This system enables surgeons to make smaller, more precise movements with tiny instruments inside your body, which can help you heal more quickly.
- TrueBeam™– A medical device that delivers a radiation beam to target cancer while exposing healthy cells to minimal radiation. No incisions are made; the noninvasive device rotates around the patient, delivering the radiation dose from different angles.
You will need to call your local hospital to learn which of these options are available in your area.
At first, thinking about treatment options may seem overwhelming. Talk with your doctors, nurses, and loved ones. Make a list of questions. Consider the benefits and possible side effects of each option. Discuss your concerns with your doctor before making a decision.
Deciding on the best plan may take some time. Talk with your healthcare provider about how much time you can take to explore your options. You may want to get another opinion before deciding on your treatment plan. You may also want to involve your family and friends in this process.