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Anaplastic thyroid cancer is an uncommon and aggressive disease that typically manifests as a rapidly growing lump (nodule) at the base of the neck. This lump may be detected during imaging or a physical examination for an unrelated health concern. In other cases, a patient may seek treatment for anaplastic thyroid cancer symptoms, which can include neck pain, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing and voice hoarseness in addition to a visible neck mass. If anaplastic thyroid cancer symptoms are noticeable, it often means that the cancer has progressed to an advanced stage.

An anaplastic thyroid cancer diagnosis may be made following a fine needle aspiration (FNA). During an FNA, a very thin needle is inserted into the thyroid nodule to draw out a small amount of cells that will be examined under a microscope. In other cases, a surgical biopsy may be performed. Based on the findings from these initial tests, one or more imaging studies will likely be ordered to learn more about the cancer and assign an appropriate stage. Some common imaging techniques that may be used during anaplastic cancer diagnosis include: 

  • Ultrasound imaging of the thyroid and neck
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan of the neck, chest and abdomen
  • PET/CT scan

Our approach to anaplastic thyroid cancer diagnostics

Patients who choose to visit Moffitt Cancer Center’s Thyroid Clinic are treated by a multispecialty team that focuses exclusively on thyroid malignancies and offers a robust clinical trial program.

If you would like to consult a Moffitt oncologist about an anaplastic thyroid cancer diagnosis and your potential treatment options, contact 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. We welcome patients with or without referrals.

Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer