After a thyroid nodule is found during a physical examination, a referral to an endocrinologist or a thyroidologist may occur. Most commonly, an ultrasound is performed to confirm the presence of a nodule and assess the status of the whole gland. Measurement of thyroid stimulating hormone and antithyroid antibodies will help decide if a functional thyroid disease such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis is present, a known cause of a benign nodular goiter. Measurement of calcitonin is necessary to exclude the presence of medullary thyroid cancer. Finally, to achieve a definitive diagnosis before deciding on treatment, a fine needle aspiration cytology test is usually performed and reported according to the Bethesda system.
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