Have you ever been diagnosed with a thyroid nodule or goiter?
These are very common. A thyroid nodule is a lump in the thyroid, and the word goiter simply means the thyroid is enlarged. Most nodules don’t cause any symptoms and are found during routine examination or on scans done for other reasons .
What symptoms can occur due to a thyroid nodule?
Occasionally, thyroid nodules can cause hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, but most do not affect the thyroid’s function. Your doctor will test your thyroid function by ordering a blood test. Rarely, nodules can be large enough that they may cause compressive symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing or hoarseness due to the nodule pushing on the esophagus or the nerves that control the vocal cords.
More than 90% of thyroid nodules are benign. Depending on how the nodule looks on your ultrasound and its size, your endocrinologist will determine if a biopsy is needed to look for thyroid cancer . Thyroid biopsies, also called fine needle aspirations, can be done at The Endocrine Center. FNAs involve inserting a small needle into the nodule to obtain a small amount of cells. Most biopsy results are benign, but if thyroid cancer is found, your endocrinologist will most likely recommend surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid. The vast majority of patients with thyroid cancer have a very good outcome, with low rates of recurrence.
If you or your doctor have reason to believe that you may have thyroid nodules, please visit our website at endocrinecenter.com or call to schedule an appointment at 713-973-3459.
– Dr. Michaelis