What is included in long-term monitoring of thyroid cancer?

Updated: May 14, 2020
  • Author: Pramod K Sharma, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Patients are regularly monitored every 6-12 months with serial radioiodine scanning and serum thyroglobulin measurements after surgery and radioiodine therapy. Thyroglobulin is a useful marker of tumor recurrence because well-differentiated thyroid cancers synthesize thyroglobulin. However, it is useful only after total thyroid ablation. Serum thyroglobulin is measured at the time of follow-up thyroid scanning, during the withdrawal of thyroid hormone or the administration of recombinant TSH. Serum antithyroglobulin antibodies are measured in addition to thyroglobulin because their presence invalidates the assay. Thyroglobulin antibody levels should be obtained with each thyroglobulin measurement. Rising thyroglobulin level after thyroid ablation suggests recurrence. Ultrasonography of the neck can also be used to detect regional recurrences.

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