Thyroid cancer is often diagnosed after a patient or doctor finds an unusual lump or “nodule” on the lower-front and center part of the neck. The only way to be sure about a thyroid cancer diagnosis is with a biopsy (tissue sample) directly from the tumor.

Diagnosis & Tests

People with type-2 diabetes who take the drug Januvia (sitagliptin) may have an increased risk of developing thyroid cancer, according to a 2011 study published in Gastroenterology. The study found two reports of Januvia thyroid cancer submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 2004-2009. Individuals who take Januvia and have symptoms of thyroid cancer will need to undergo medical tests to check for a Januvia thyroid cancer diagnosis.

The following tests may be used for a Januvia thyroid cancer diagnosis:

  • Physical exam: Thyroid cancer begins as a very small cluster of cancerous cells. Because the thyroid gland is located close to the surface of the skin, a growing tumor can be felt during a physical examination. However, because thyroid cancer is slow-growing, the tumor may grow unnoticed for months.
  • Blood tests: One symptom of thyroid cancer is elevated levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone(TSH) in the bloodstream.
  • Imaging tests
    • Ultrasound: This test uses high-frequency sound waves to get a picture of internal organs.
    • Computed tomography (CT) scan: This test uses X-rays to create a detailed image of bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels. After acquiring multiple X-ray images, a computer constructs a 3D image of the organ.
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): This imaging test uses magnetic waves to create a much more detailed image of soft tissues than a CT scan. It is best suited for soft-tissue evaluations, especially when looking for small tumors in the thyroid.
  • Biopsy: The only way to have a conclusive Januvia thyroid cancer diagnosis is with a biopsy (tissue sample). Thyroid cancer is usually diagnosed with an ultrasound-guided needle biopsy. This test removes cells from the thyroid gland with a hollow needle that is guided into the thyroid gland with an ultrasound machine. Once the biopsy is taken, a pathologist looks at the cells under a microscope and determines whether they are cancerous.
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