Thyroid Cancer Canada
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CT (computed tomography)

A type of scan that creates a 3-D x-ray image. Thyroid cancer patients usually undergo this scan without the use of injected contrast (if possible) as the contrast media contains iodine.  The contrast iodine may interfere with RAI treatment if subsequently required in the immediate months following.

Cytomel (triiodothyronine)

T3 hormone taken in pill form.

DX (diagnosis)

The decision reached from an examination of the nature and circumstances of a diseased condition.

EBR (external beam radiation)

A type of treatment that administers a beam of radiation to a section of the body. EBR treatment is an option to treat advanced thyroid cancer.

Endo (endocrinologist)

A doctor who specializes in the endocrine system of the body. The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system.

FNA (fine needle aspiration)

A type of biopsy (test for cancer) whereby a very thin needle is inserted into the nodule or tissue so that a sampling of cells can be withdrawn and examined by a cytologist (cell specialist) to determine if they are benign (normal) or cancerous. Also known as FNAB (Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy).

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

A scan using magnetic waves in order to create a 3-D image

PET (positron emission tomography)

A scan using injected glucose (a type of sugar).  As ‘active’ cancer cells make use of sugar, advanced thyroid cancer may be imaged using a PET scan.  This scan is often combined with a CT scan (to overlay the images). PET scans are usually reserved for those with a Tg of more than 10 µg/L.

PT (partial thyroidectomy)

Part of the thyroid gland is removed. Also known as a hemi-thyroidectomy.

RAI (radioactive iodine)

A liquid or pill containing radioactive iodine used to ablate (destroy) thyroid cells. Also when given in small amounts, it may used to allow for a Whole Body Scan (a scan without treatment).


A hormone produced by the thyroid gland, and/or converted from T4, and/or taken in pill form (Cytomel).


A hormone produced by the thyroid gland, or taken in pill form (Synthroid or Eltroxin)


Thyroid cancer

Tg (thyroglobulin)

A protein produced by normal and differentiated thyroid cells, measured by a blood test.  The Tg acts as a ‘cancer marker’ for thyroid cancer patients. As thyca patients normally have total removal of their thyroid glands, it is expected and desirable to have very low Tg level.

TKI (tyrosine kinase inhibitor)

TKIs are targeted therapies, currently mainly used to treat those with Medullary thyroid cancer, and/or those with advanced or aggressive disease.

TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)

A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that ‘calls for’ T4 and T3 (hormones produced by the thyroid gland).

TT (total thyroidectomy)

Also referred to as a ‘near total thyroidectomy’ (NTT).

U/S (ultrasound)

Also known as a sonogram.

WBS (whole body scan – I-131 scan)

A scan which identifies thyroid remnant tissue and/or metastases of thyroid cancer following a treatment or scanning dose of RAI. Also known as a I-131 scan because the medial isotope is identified as iodine-131.