If thyroid cancer is suspected and surgery may be required, your physician may ask for a blood test known as thyroglobulin. Thyroglobulin is a protein made only by thyroid cells. If the thyroglobulin level at baseline is detectable or elevated (this means the gland does in fact make the protein) it can be used as a tumor marker. After a total thyroidectomy for cancer (removal of the entire thyroid gland) the level should fall to an undetectable range since the cells that make thyroglobulin have been removed. If the level remains detectable after surgery, there is a possibility of thyroid tissue elsewhere in the body, and metastatic disease should be considered. If the level is undetectable for a period of time after surgery and then starts to climb, a recurrence of the cancer - either at the primary site or elsewhere in the body should be considered.
In response to Marlene’s post: If you really have thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s) there is no vitamin supplement or diet that is going to effectively treat or reverse this condition, although there are supplement that may help to support thyroid function. Hashimoto’s is a progressive autoimmune disorder and it can cause wild fluctuations, causing you to swing from hyper to hypo until it finally just goes into a steady decline in hormone output. There are negative health risks when you let this go on too long without proper treatment. You must have prescription medication, whether it’s a “natural” thyroid drug such as Armour, compounded dessicated thyroid, or a synthetic hormone such as Synthroid (levothyroxine) and/or Cytomel (liothyronine.)
I am very athletic and helath concious and have been for most of my life. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s a few years ago and now that I’m being properly medicated (I take a combo of Synthroid and Cytomel) I look and feel better than I have in years! My athletic performance has increased, my hair is healthier, my skin is healthier, I never get sick anymore, I think more clearly, I’m happier, I have normal periods and I am no longer hanging onto an extra 5-10 lbs that wouldn’t go away no matter how hard I worked or how clean my diet was.
Therapy for hypothyroidism is monitored at approximately six week intervals until stable. During these visits, a blood sample is checked for TSH to determine if the appropriate amount of thyroid replacement is being given. The goal is to maintain the TSH within normal limits. Depending on the lab used, the absolute values may vary, but in general, a normal TSH range is between to /ml. Once stable, the TSH can be checked yearly. Over-treating hypothyroidism with excessive thyroid medication is potentially harmful and can cause problems with heart palpitations and blood pressure control and can also contribute to osteoporosis . Every effort should be made to keep the TSH within the normal range.