Thyroid nodules are abnormal growths that form lumps on the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland that is located in the lower front portion of your neck. These growths are very common and no one yet knows the cause of them. In cases of hypothyroidism, there is a higher risk of nodules growing. Fortunately, most nodules are benign and do not contain cancer. However, in rare cases, they can be cancerous.
Thyroid nodules typically do not have any symptoms. It is important to know that many thyroid tests may have normal results, despite having cancerous nodules present. This is why it is vital to be sure your doctor examines your neck and feels your thyroid gland during your routine visits. Many nodules can be felt by a professional. Ultrasounds of the thyroid can be performed to get a closer look at the gland and any nodules it may contain. In rare cases, nodules can grow large enough to be plainly visible by the eye or cause pain, difficulty breathing, or difficulty swallowing.
If nodules are present, a blood test and ultrasound may be ordered to check the function of the thyroid overall as well as any suspicious features of the nodules themselves. Nodules may also be biopsied by a fine needle in a nearly painless and simple procedure. Most times, no cancer is found and nodules can be left alone unless they are large enough to cause difficulty breathing or swallowing. However, if cancer is found, it may be determined that the best course of action is to remove the thyroid.
At Bay Area Endocrinology Associates, we are a team of endocrinologistswho specialize in all thyroid-related disorders including but not limited to: nodules, cancer, and overactive and under-active thyroidfunction. We also focus on a number of other metabolic disorders. We are located in Tampa, Florida. Please give us a call if you have any metabolic or thyroid concerns.