Which clinical history findings are characteristic of follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC)?

Updated: Jun 18, 2020
  • Author: Luigi Santacroce, MD; Chief Editor: Neetu Radhakrishnan, MD  more...
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Answer

Many cases of follicular thyroid cancer (FTC) are subclinical. The most common presentation of thyroid cancer is as an asymptomatic thyroid mass or nodule that can be felt in the neck. Pain seldom is an early warning sign of thyroid cancer.

Record a thorough medical history to identify any risk factors or symptoms. For any patient with a lump in the thyroid that has appeared recently, focus on obtaining history regarding every prior exposure to ionizing radiation, as well as the cumulative lifetime exposure. Consider family history of thyroid cancer. [17]

Some patients have persistent cough, difficulty breathing, or difficulty swallowing. Other signs and symptoms (eg, pain, stridor, vocal cord paralysis, hemoptysis, rapid enlargement) are rare. Those can be caused by less serious problems.

At diagnosis, 10-15% of patients have distant metastases to bone and lung and initially are evaluated for pulmonary or osteoarticular symptoms (eg, pathologic fracture, spontaneous fracture).


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