Author: Masaharu Tsubokura M.D., PhD.

Editor: Yudai Kaneda

313 Testing for Thyroid Disease

February 6, 2021

The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped organ, about 10-20 grams, slightly below the middle of the neck (below the throat).

 Thyroid hormones play a role in promoting the growth and development of children’s bodies and brains by maintaining energy metabolism and protein synthesis through the production of heat and sweat as well as the active movement of muscles and digestive tracts.

 Generally, thyroid diseases can be divided into two main types: (1) excessive or deficient thyroid hormones due to an abnormality in the production of thyroid hormones, and (2) swelling, lumps, or changes in the shape of part of or the entire thyroid gland. Sometimes both (1) and (2) can occur at the same time.

 Thyroid hormone levels are checked by blood sampling. For swelling and lumps, palpation and ultrasound are the options. The first type of thyroid disease mentioned above is represented by Hashimoto’s disease and Basedow’s disease. The second type is a disease in which a lump appears in a part of the thyroid gland, and when it is malignant, it is known as thyroid cancer. Tests are selected depending on the disease to be examined.

314  Papillary Carcinoma is the Most Common

February 13, 2021

 The thyroid gland is a small, 10-20 gram, butterfly-shaped organ located in the middle to the slightly lower part of the neck (below the throat).

 There are two main types of thyroid disorders: (1) excess or deficiency of thyroid hormones and (2) swelling or lumps that change the shape of a part or the whole of the thyroid gland. The second type of disease, in which a lump forms in a part of the thyroid gland, is called thyroid cancer if it is malignant.

 The appearance of swelling or a lump can be checked by ultrasound imaging. However, echo images alone cannot confirm the presence of cancer, nor can they determine the type of cancer. Therefore, if cancer is suspected, a microscopic examination is performed by inserting a needle into the thyroid gland to remove cells while watching the echo image for diagnosis.

Thyroid cancers are classified into several types according to their microscopic appearance, but most radiation-related thyroid cancers are of a type called papillary carcinoma. It is named after its microscopic appearance.

Papillary carcinoma is the most common type of thyroid cancer.

In general, it progresses very slowly, is known to have a good prognosis (course after treatment), and is rarely life-threatening.


The Japanese version of the manuscript was originally published in Fukushima Minyu, a local newspaper in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, on 6 and 13 February 2021 was reproduced for MRIC Global under the author's permission.

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