What is a thyroglobulin test?
A thyroglobulin test determines the level of thyroglobulin in a blood sample. The thyroid produces a protein called thyroglobulin. A gland in the neck with a butterfly form is the thyroid. It produces hormones that regulate various bodily functions, such as heart rate and how quickly individuals burn calories from food.
Testing for thyroglobulin is not useful to identify thyroid cancer because thyroglobulin levels might be affected by other thyroid diseases that are not malignancies. However, the test is beneficial after therapy for common thyroid tumors to determine whether the treatment was effective. This is because treatment aims to remove all thyroid tissue, whether healthy or cancerous. So, if the medication is effective, individuals should have little or no thyroglobulin in their blood. Treatment for cancer may be required if thyroglobulin levels remain stable or rise.
Thyroglobulin tests are commonly used to
- Determine the success of thyroid cancer treatment and use it to guide further treatment decisions.
- Predict the behavior of cancer over time.
- Check to determine if cancer has reappeared after therapy.
Thyroglobulin tests may also be performed to help diagnose hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, both of which are prevalent thyroid diseases that are not cancer.
Why do I need a thyroglobulin test?
Before beginning thyroid cancer treatment, individuals may require a thyroglobulin test. The doctor will compare these test results to the post-treatment test results.
This test may also be required a few weeks after you have completed thyroid cancer therapy. The test can determine whether the body still has thyroid cells. If the treatment was effective, individuals might still need to have their thyroglobulin levels checked on a regular basis to determine whether cancer has recurred.
What happens during a thyroglobulin test?
A small needle will be used by a healthcare expert to take blood from a vein in the arm. After the insertion of the needle, a small amount of blood will be collected in a tube or vial. People may feel a slight sting when the needle goes in or out. This normally takes under five minutes.
How to prepare for the test?
A thyroglobulin test usually does not require any particular preparation. However, individuals must avoid taking some vitamins or supplements, so inform the provider of everything you take.
Are there any risks to the test?
A blood test poses relatively little danger. Most of the symptoms will pass quickly; however, patients may experience pain or bruises where the needle was inserted.
What do the results mean?
It might be challenging to evaluate the results of a thyroglobulin test after treatment.The significance of the results is determined by the medical history, the sort of treatment you received, and the results of additional tests. As a result, asking the doctor to explain what the test results mean for overall health is advisable.
In general, if you have a test after thyroid cancer treatment:
- Thyroglobulin levels that are extremely low or absent could indicate that the cancer treatment successfully eliminated all thyroid tissue, including the tumor. To be certain, individuals will need to undergo more tests in the future.
- High or rising thyroglobulin levels could indicate that:
- Not all thyroid tissue in the body was removed after treatment.
- The body still contains thyroid cancer that has grown and possibly spread.
- Thyroglobulin levels that have been low after therapy but later raised could indicate that the thyroid cancer has recurred.
Do I need to know anything else about a thyroglobulin test?
Different methods are used by laboratories to determine the amount of thyroglobulin in a blood sample. The results may be influenced by the test procedure. As a result, it's critical that the tests be performed in the same manner and, preferably, in the same lab. The provider will be able to compare the results over time as a result of this. If you have any questions, contact the service provider.
If you have thyroglobulin antibodies in the blood, a thyroglobulin test may be ineffective for monitoring thyroid cancer treatment. These antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system. They bind to thyroglobulin, making the thyroglobulin levels appear lower than they are.
To determine whether thyroglobulin testing will be beneficial, the clinician will usually request a thyroid antibody test. Other tests will be conducted to determine whether the cancer therapy was successful if they have thyroglobulin antibodies.