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Poorly Diagnostic Findings

Thyroid Carcinoma: Sensitivity and Specificity

Introduction: Note that some of the findings below are listed for nodules and others for actual cancer.

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Tags: Neoplasm Tag this Diagnosis.


Population / CalculatorPrevalence Comments / Study / Link
Thyroid nodules in the general population 67% by ultrasound

Arch Intern Med. 1994 Aug 22;154(16):1838-40. PMID: 8053752

Carcinoma in thyroid nodules 5% note: in this study there was a huge difference in malignancy risk based on nodules discovered incidentally on ultrasound (17%) versus ultrasound studies done for non-incidental reasons (3%)

J Ultrasound Med. 2005 May;24(5):629-34. PMID: 15840794

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The sensitivity and specificity of findings for Thyroid Carcinoma are listed below. See the left navigation bar to change the display.

Specific Findings

Finding SensitivitySpecificity Comments, Study
Palpation Edit 31%100%

for a nodule or nodules, compared to ultrasound

Study: Arch Intern Med. 1994 Aug 22;154(16):1838-40. PMID: 8053752

FNA Edit 66%93%

for carcinoma as diagnosed by thyroidectomy

note that this sensitivity (and specificity) is an estimate since only 25% of FNA negative patients got thyroidectomy

Study: Ann Surg. 2007 Nov;246(5):714-20. PMID: 17968160

Poorly Diagnostic Findings

Finding SensitivitySpecificity Comments, Study
Solitary Nodule Edit 58%59%

by ultrasound, for a diagnosis of carcinoma

Study: Surgery. 2007 Dec;142(6):851-7. PMID: 18063067