Among the Thyroid Cancers, a rare one is medullary thyroid cancer, which accounts for 3% to 10% of all thyroid cancers. There are some specialized thyroid cells from which medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) grows. These cells are called parafollicular cells or C-cells, which make a hormone called calcitonin. Controlling bone formation and blood calcium cells are the function of calcitonin.


In most of the cases, there are no symptoms of thyroid cancer. If there is an unusual lump in the neck or throat or a doctor feels a lump or nodule while examining one’s thyroid gland, a person may need to undergo certain diagnostic tests for further evaluation. When one touches a medullary thyroid tumour, it may feel tender or painful. Diarrhoea is a common symptom of advanced medullary thyroid cancer as this cancer produces many proteins and sheds some other substances. The interaction of several factors including prostaglandins calcitonin and the presence of several other substances also lead to the development of diarrhoea.


A combination of FNA biopsy of the thyroid nodules and specific blood tests often make the diagnosis of medullary thyroid cancer possible. When a cancer doctor in Newtown suspects that a thyroid nodule is responsible for medullary thyroid cancer, he/she suggests the following tests:

  • Calcitonin: If there is a suspicion that a person has medullary thyroid cancer, a blood test to check the calcitonin level in the blood is necessary. A person having the risk of developing the disease or have a family history of medullary thyroid cancer can also undergo this screening test. The measurement of the amount of cancer and checking whether there is a recurrence of cancer even after surgery is possible from the calcitonin cases.
  • Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA):  An advanced case of medullary thyroid cancer can give rise to CEA. Along with calcitonin, the levels of this substance are also tested. If there is more CEA, it means more aggressive medullary thyroid cancer.
  • Ultrasound: A non-invasive imaging study in which the pathologist uses sound waves to see an accurate picture of the thyroid gland, as well as any enlarged lymph nodes, is known as a thyroid ultrasound. A lot of information such as the size and the exact location of the tumour is available from the ultrasound. The doctor can also know whether the nodule is solid or fluid-filled (cystic) from the ultrasound. There are many other things that are possible to know from the ultrasound.

Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computed Tomography (CT) scan, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans and Genetic testing are some other diagnostic tests.


Surgery is the best treatment option for medullary thyroid cancer. The oncology doctors in Kolkata perform the surgery with the aim to remove all disease at a single attempt. Total thyroidectomy with central lymph node dissection is the minimum recommended operation for medullary thyroid cancer. There is the removal of the entire thyroid gland and all of the lymph nodes between the carotid arteries on each side and from the hyoid bone to the inominate vessels in this surgical procedure. The surgeon may perform a more extensive surgery if required.