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Worrying MRI scan results

14 Mar 2017 12:33

I've just had MRI results on my throat which has been causing problems for a few weeks with palsy of vocal chord and trouble swallowing. In total shock as consultant has come back with diagnosis of a tumour on thyroid that he think may be malignant. The next step is a biopsy with ENT surgeon who I guess will then discuss treatment options. I was unprepared for the diagnosis and so not done too much research and dissapointed in myself by not asking enough questions to the consultant. Can anyone give me some advice on what the next steps are likely to be, how long the various steps will take and any practical advice in what questions I should ask to take back some kind of control of the situation. Process seems to be running away from me and not sure what time frames are likely to be as have a lot of personal and professional things coming up that may now need to cancel/amend. Hope this is the right forum as not used this service before.



Re: Worrying MRI scan results

17 Mar 2017 22:01 in response to ak47

Hello ak47,

It must be a very stressful time for you and I hope the biopsy with the ENT surgeon goes well. Don't be disappointed with yourself though - you still have time to ask questions to the consultant when you next meet. It is a good idea perhaps to write these questions down so you don't forget them during the appointment.

I hope you will hear from others here who have been through this process and that they will guide you as to what the next steps are likely to be and the kinds of questions you could ask. Once you have your results and a final diagnosis, don't hesitate to ask your medical team what the time frames may be so that you can make plans and rearrange professional or personal commitments if necessary.

Perhaps you could also give our cancer nurses a call and ask them for advice on this? You can reach them on this free number 0808 800 4040, their line is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

I hope everything goes well for you and if you get a chance, do keep us updated when you find out more.

Best wishes,

Lucie, Cancer Chat Moderator


Re: Worrying MRI scan results

20 Mar 2017 15:48 in response to ak47


Thank you for posting a question. I am sorry to learn about your situation.

I am one of the nurses and  Lucie our moderator wondered if we would be able to provide some answers to your questions. However, I must admit that this is quite difficult as I am not involved in your care and do not know the full details of your situation.

Unfortunately I don’t think that I can tell you very much, as the first thing is to establish is exactly what is wrong. And forgive me for stating the obvious, this won’t be known until you have had the biopsy and the results are back. Then if it is thyroid cancer, treatment will depend on the extent of the cancer (stage) and the sub type of the cancer.  We have some general information about this here.

I am afraid that I don’t know if you will need any further tests after the biopsy. This will depend on the type of thyroid cancer you have and how much information was gained from the MRI scan. I also cannot tell you how long all of this will take. But if cancer is suspected according to the guidelines you should not have to wait more than 62 days until you get your first treatment. The 62 days starts from when your GP referred you urgently for suspected cancer or when cancer was suspected. This might have been after the MRI scan. So hopefully things should move along relatively quickly.

I appreciate that this is a worrying time but it is important to remember that thyroid cancer is usually successfully treated. It is also uncommon so I suppose it could be something else that is wrong.

When you have the biopsy or any other tests, do remember to ask when and how you will get the results. This can give you back a little control, because you are not waiting around for things that are not going to happen.

Do get back to us if you can help with anything else. If you  would like to telephone you are welcome call. Our Freephone number is 0808 8004040. We are here from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Kind regards,



Re: Worrying MRI scan results

20 Mar 2017 19:24 in response to ak47

Hiya AK,

From a patient's perspective, your reaction isn't at all unusual. You will have plenty of time to ask questions over the coming weeks. I found it helped to write down all my questions beforehand and the answers at the time to make sure nothing was missed or forgotten. Apparently most patients remember less than 60% of what they are told when they are stressed. 

Jean has mentioned the 62 day waiting time guidance, The actual time you will wait depends on so many things from exactly what treatment they recommend, what treatment you CHOOSE to have, how busy the hospital is and whether more tests will be needed before treatment can start. 

In my own case, I didn't have to wait too long to get my biopsy results - about a week for the grade of the cancer and about three or four weeks for my HER2 test results.

The location of my primary meant that surgery and radiotherapy were ruled out. I started chemo the week after my initial biopsy and CT scan results came in.

It will feel like an emotional roller-coaster at times things will feel all rushed and at other times it will feel that things are taking for ever to happen. You will get through this?

Best wishes



Re: Worrying MRI scan results

27 Mar 2017 17:20 in response to davek

Thanks for your response Dave it is much appreciated - had biopsy last week privately and initial results were positive and then had PET/CT scan on Friday and have update with my consultant tomorrow afternoon. Like everyone else in this situation ,mind is in overdrive, hoping that initial biopsy results are correct but increasingly worried that PET scan may have found other problems, perhaps previously put to the back of my mind, and cancer is a reality.

Trying to stay positive and upbeat for the family but inside very nervous about the results and what this may mean not only for myself and my future but also my family and loved ones. I've found it quite difficult to speak to people in too much detail and get quite emotional talking to those who I know well about my ongoing health problems. I know people are being kind and want to know diagnosis, but increasing number of phone calls, emails, texts etc make it more difficult and find myself not wanting to tell anyone updates in case initial positive results were wrong.

Let you know results and thanks again.


Re: Worrying MRI scan results

27 Mar 2017 23:24 in response to ak47

Good luck for tomorrow's appointment. I hope it goes well for you Happy

Re: Worrying MRI scan results

29 Mar 2017 09:51 in response to davek

Hi Dave - had all clear from consultant what a relief!! 

Thanks for your support much appreciated and hope your journey with cancer goes well



Re: Worrying MRI scan results

29 Mar 2017 20:22 in response to ak47

Yay! Great news - so pleased for you Happy