Thyroid Nodule- Receive Proper Evaluation To Rule Out Cancer
The term thyroid nodule refers to any abnormal growth of the thyroid cells into a lump
. Although a vast majority of thyroid nodules are benign (noncancerous), a small proportion does contain thyroid cancer. Because of this possibility, the evaluation of a thyroid nodule is aimed at discovering a potential cancer.
You often may not even know you have a thyroid nodule until your ENT in Hackensack discovers it during a routine medical exam. Some thyroid nodules, however, may become large enough to press on your windpipe, making it uncomfortable or difficult to swallow. Treatment options will depend on the type of thyroid nodule that you have.
What Causes a Thyroid Nodule to Form?
Sometimes thyroid tissue begins to grow, causing one or more nodules to form. The reason this happens is unknown, but cancer is one of the biggest concerns when nodules do form. Fortunately, cancer is very rare - found in less than five percent of all nodules. You may develop a thyroid nodule more often if you have a family history of nodules and in individuals with iodine deficiency, as iodine is needed to make the thyroid hormone.
There are different types of thyroid nodules, including:
*Colloid nodules. These are one or more overgrowths of normal thyroid tissue.
*Thyroid cysts. These are fluid-filled or partially solid/partially fluid-filled growths inside the thyroid gland.
*Inflammatory nodules. These develop as a result of chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland.
*Hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules. These produce thyroid hormones, which may lead to the development of hyperthyroidism.
*Thyroid Cancer. Of the nodules that can form as the thyroid gland enlarges, less than five percent are actually cancerous.
How are Thyroid Nodules Diagnosed and Treated?
In some instances you may be able to feel the nodule yourself, or your ENT may discover it during an exam. If you ENT does determine that you have a thyroid nodule, he or she will usually need to order one or more tests. A thyroid hormone level test is used to check the levels of hormones secreted by the thyroid gland. Most often, the hormone levels are normal despite he presence of nodules. However, there are also times when abnormal hormone levels exist, but are also benign.
Additionally, your ENT may perform a fine-needle biopsy of the thyroid gland to draw a sample of cells from one or more thyroid nodules. The samples are sent to a laboratory once received and typically come back as noncancerous. A thyroid ultrasound can also be used if the presence of nodules is found. This test uses sound waves to determine if a nodule is solid or a fluid-filled cyst.
Treatment often depends on the type of thyroid nodule that is discovered. Such treatments might include:
*Close monitoring for any changes through frequent checkups
*Thyroid hormone suppression therapy
Majority of thyroid nodules do not require surgical removal. However, if the nodule is suspicious or cancerous, removal is typically advised. Removing half, most or all of the thyroid gland, depending on the condition and status of the remaining gland, accomplishes this. Patients are typically discharged within 24 hours of the procedure or sometimes the same day.
Contact your Hackensack ENT for more information on thyroid nodules and to see if you might have one. Regular checkups with your ENT for evaluation can help ensure the health of your thyroid.
by: Gen Wright
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