Thyroid Nodule: Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
A thyroid nodule is an abnormal growth (lump) of thyroid cells in the thyroid gland; the most serious concern when nodules form is thyroid cancer, which is extremely rare (found in less than 5% of all nodules).
How do I know if I have thyroid nodules?
Thyroid hormone overproduction, or hyperthyroidism, can cause fatigue, loss of appetite, and hair loss. Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid hormone levels, can cause fatigue, loss of appetite, and hair loss.
What are the risk factors for thyroid nodules?
The risk of developing thyroid nodules increases with age, gender, and radiation exposure. You may be able to feel the nodule yourself, or your doctor may discover it during an exam. To check for nodules, your doctor will usually order one or more of the following tests. Treatment for thyroid nodules depends on the type of nodule.
What do you do when your child has a thyroid nodule?
If your child has a thyroid nodule, the first step is to get an ultrasound, which will help your healthcare provider assess the quality of the nodule. Some nodules require lab tests to determine how the thyroid is functioning and whether further testing or surgery is required.
What if the nodule is cancer?
In most cases, the entire thyroid gland is removed in children, with lymph nodes removed in some cases, and radioactive iodine used after surgery to remove microscopic thyroid tissue in others.
What are the risks of removing the thyroid gland?
A “hoarse/breathy” voice and low calcium levels are two major risk factors following thyroid gland removal. Other risk factors include a scar on the neck, fluid collection under the skin, and the need for future procedures such as lymph node removal.
What kind of follow-up will be needed if my child has a thyroidectomy and thyroid cancer?
One week after surgery, you’ll see your child’s endocrinologist and head and neck surgeon, and expect lab tests to assess calcium levels and thyroid function, as well as additional imaging to see if radioactive iodine is needed for radiotherapy, depending on the pathology.
Are thyroid nodules hard or soft?
Thyroid nodules can be smooth or nodular, diffuse or localized, soft or hard, mobile or fixed, painful or nontender, and can be discovered by the patient as a visible lump or by chance during a physical examination.
What symptoms can thyroid nodules cause?
Although nodules are uncommon, they can press against other structures in the neck, causing symptoms such as:
- Trouble swallowing or breathing.
- Hoarseness or a change in voice.
- Neck pain.
- Goiter (thyroid gland enlargement).
Can a doctor feel thyroid nodules?
Most thyroid nodules do not cause symptoms and are so small that they are difficult to detect during a physical examination or when another test, such as a CT scan or ultrasound, is performed for another reason. If your thyroid nodule is large, you may be able to feel it or notice swelling in your neck.
When should I worry about thyroid nodules?
The vast majority of thyroid nodules are benign (noncancerous), and if a doctor is concerned about the possibility of cancer, he or she may simply recommend watching the nodule over time to see if it grows. Ultrasound can help evaluate a thyroid nodule and determine whether or not a biopsy is necessary.
What makes a thyroid nodule suspicious?
The lifetime risk of thyroid cancer in the United States is 1.1 percent, and when a thyroid nodule is suspicious u2013 meaning it has characteristics that suggest thyroid cancer u2013 a fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) is usually the next step.
Can you shrink thyroid nodules?
Because most solid thyroid nodules do not shrink on their own, your doctor may prescribe medicine or recommend surgery to remove the nodules, or shrink a nodule by removing fluid with a thin needle.
What size thyroid nodule is worrisome?
The nodules in 5% of each size group were classified as malignant; 6% of nodules 1 to 1.9 cm were suspicious, as were 8 to 9% of nodules in the larger size groups; and 927 of 7348 nodules (13%) were cancers based on surgical pathology.
What foods to avoid if you have thyroid nodules?
Goitrogens are a type of goitrogen.
- Fruits and starchy plants: sweet potatoes, cassava, peaches, strawberries, etc.
- nuts and seeds: millet, pine nuts, peanuts, etc.
- soy foods: tofu, tempeh, edamame, etc.
- certain vegetables: cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, spinach, etc.
- fruits and starchy plants: sweet potatoes, cassava, peaches, strawberries, etc.
- nuts and seeds: millet, pine nuts, peanuts, etc
Can stress cause thyroid nodules?
Stress does not cause thyroid disorders, but it can exacerbate them. Stress affects the thyroid by slowing your body’s metabolism, which is another way that stress and weight gain are linked.
What shrinks thyroid nodules?
Radioactive iodine, which is taken as a capsule or a liquid, is absorbed by your thyroid gland, causing the nodules to shrink and the signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism to fade away, usually within two to three months.
Can a thyroid nodule go away on its own?
Although some thyroid nodules, particularly those that are smaller or filled with fluid, can go away on their own, they usually grow over time, even if they are benign.
How often should thyroid nodules be checked?
The American Thyroid Association (ATA) currently recommends that people with benign thyroid nodules be checked every six to 18 months, with the interval being extended to three to five years if the nodules do not grow in size.
How fast do nodules grow on thyroid?
More importantly, most nodules, whether benign or cancerous, are either stable or grow at a rate of 2 mm per year, which is beneficial for long-term thyroid management.
At what size should a thyroid nodule be removed?
Previous research has found that between 11 and 20% of cancerous nodules under 4 cm may be misclassified as benign (false negative), prompting recommendations that all nodules under 4 cm be removed.
What size thyroid nodule should be biopsied?
A biopsy should be performed on a nodule that is 1 cm in diameter or larger with microcalcifications, 1.5 cm in diameter or larger that is solid or has coarse calcifications, 2 cm in diameter or larger that has mixed solid and cystic components, and a nodule that is 2 cm in diameter or larger that has mixed solid and cystic components, according to the Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound.