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Pathology: A Career in Medicine Brochure

Available in Print, PDF, and Web Formats.
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Request your copy from:
Administrator/Managing Editor
Donna Stivers
E-mail:
dstivers@asip.org
Phone: (301) 634-7200
Fax: (301) 634-7990

Case Study: Thyroid Cancer

A 35-year-old woman felt a lump in her neck. Her surgeon found the lump to be located in her thyroid gland. When she was given a tracer dose of radioactive iodine, none of it appeared in the lump - called a "cold" nodule. The referring physician asked the pathologist to do a fine-needle aspiration - "FNA" to determine whether the lump was malignant. They demonstrate the diagnosis at the tumor board meeting and discuss prognosis and cancer management with the surgeons, oncologists, social workers, nurses, and radiation oncologists present. At surgery, the mass was removed and no spread of the tumor was found. The early diagnosis afforded by FNA helps achieve an excellent prognosis in thyroid cancers.

The attending pathologist and resident examine the patient and, under the pathologist's guidance, a resident obtains the specimen.
   
A pathologist and resident immediately analyze the cells microscopically while the patient is still in the examining room.
   
The fine needle aspirate of the patient reveals a papillary carcinoma of the
thyroid which often affects young women.