Narrator: Ferne Berger's life was turned upside down when an ultrasound showed a nodule on her thyroid gland. Ferne had a biopsy, but her results were inconclusive.
Ferne Berger, thyroid patient, said: "The fear of them being malignant was certainly very scary."
Narrator: Half a million nodules are biopsied each year and Doctor Paul Aoun says up to 30 percent of the time results come back inconclusive.
Narrator: The traditional next step for those patients has been to remove all or part of the thyroid.
Paul Aoun, DO, PhD, Endocrinologist, Palm Beach Diabetes & Endocrine Specialists: "...only 25 percent end up having cancer."
Narrator: Now, if a biopsy comes back inconclusive, doctors have a new tool to test the sample.
The gene expression classifier test measures 142 gene patterns, including those present in thyroid cancer and can reclassify nodules as benign or possibly malignant. (:15)
Dr. Aoun: "That could result in saving about half the patients proceeding to unnecessary surgery."
Narration: A study showed the test is 94 percent accurate in re-classifying inconclusive results as benign.
Another study showed the test helped reduce surgery rates by 90 percent. Ferne's results showed her nodule was benign and she did not need surgery.
Ferne Berger: "It was a big weight off my shoulders."
Narrator: Lou Baxter, yourerie.com