Thyroid Nodules 101:
What happens if you have a thyroid nodule?
- You might be looking in the mirror while shaving or fastening a necklace when you first see it.
- The doctor might feel it during a routine physical exam.
- Other times it will show up during unrelated CT/MR or Carotid ultrasound of the neck.
- Thyroid nodules can produce an excess amount of thyroid hormone, causing hyperthyroidism
- If thyroid nodules are large enough, they can cause neck pain, voice changes or difficulty swallowing.
- Most nodules are not cancerous.
- The initial laboratory test might include measurement of thyroid hormone (Free T4 or thyroxine) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in the patient’s blood.
- Evaluation of thyroid nodules commonly includes thyroid ultrasound and fine-needle biopsy.
- A nuclear thyroid scan may be indicated for further evaluation of thyroid nodules associated with hyperthyroidism.
- New tests that examine the gene mutations in the DNA of thyroid nodules are very helpful in providing information about the presence of cancer.
- Molecular testing is particularly helpful when a fine-needle biopsy result is indeterminate.
- Surgery, called thyroidectomy, is the primary therapy for all thyroid cancers.
- However, certain small cancers can be treated without surgery by active surveillance or ablated by ethanol PEI or radiofrequency RFA.
- Some previously called cancer are now downgraded to benign follicular tumors NIFT-P. These only need one lobe removed to make the diagnosis. No life time follow up is needed.
- NIFT-P can be a large nodule but there is no invasion outside the capsule and is not a cancer anymore!
- You will not need cancer follow up radioiodine therapy or frequent visits to the endocrinologist.
- If the other lobe has normal function you do not need even thyroid hormone therapy.
- Call me for a consultation before you do the wrong thing.
- 310-393-8860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.