Tags: Thyroid Disorders | goiter | thyroid | cancer

What Do Goiters and Thyroid Cancer Have in Common?

By    |   Thursday, 17 Mar 2016 05:55 PM

The thyroid is a small gland in the throat that regulates many bodily functions and the metabolism. Among disorders of the thyroid are goiter and cancer.

Goiter is the medical term used to describe an enlarged thyroid gland, says the American Cancer Society. Either the entire thyroid gland can be enlarged or the thyroid can have bumps or nodules on it that cause it to be enlarged. In either case, goiter is often caused by hormonal imbalances or an iodine deficiency. The nodules can even be left untreated if they are small, not growing, or not causing any adverse symptoms.

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Goiter that involves multiple thyroid nodules is called multinodal goiter, according to the American Thyroid Association. It was previously thought that this type of goiter carried a low risk of developing thyroid cancer, but recent studies suggest otherwise.

The American Thyroid Association summarized the findings of a study that indicate as many as one in five patients with multinodal goiter had thyroid cancer. The University of California San Francisco says that if the goiter or nodules are cancerous, they can swell and put pressure on other structures nearby causing hoarseness, pain, and even coughing up blood if the trachea is penetrated.

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According to Endocrine Web, thyroid cancer diagnosis usually starts with patients noticing lumps in the thyroid gland or physicians detecting lumps during routine physicals. A number of scans such as CT scans, MRIs, and nuclear medicine studies along with blood tests can confirm or rule out thyroid cancer. A physician may also order a fine needle aspiration to draw fluid and cells from the thyroid nodules to be examine by a pathologist checking for cancer.

Just as with thyroid cancer, some cases of goiter may require surgical removal of the thyroid gland, or thyroidectomy, according to the University of California San Francisco. If cancer is suspected, all or part of the thyroid along with nodules can be removed for biopsy or to prevent the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.

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The thyroid is a small gland in the throat that regulates many bodily functions and the metabolism. Among disorders of the thyroid are goiter and cancer.
goiter, thyroid, cancer
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2016-55-17
Thursday, 17 Mar 2016 05:55 PM
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