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What Happens When Thyroid Nodules Are Detected?

By    |   Thursday, 19 May 2016 05:45 PM

Thyroid nodules are growths in the thyroid gland, which produces hormones for the body’s metabolism and energy needs. A lump in the thyroid at the front of the neck indicates a nodule, but most thyroid nodules don’t cause problems.

The nodules could result in the release of too much thyroid hormone, which affects the whole body. Although most thyroid nodules are not signs of cancer, surgery is necessary to remove the nodule if cancer is detected, WebMD reports.

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More than 95 percent of thyroid nodules are noncancerous growths, according to EndocrineWeb. Most people will get a thyroid nodule by age 50 and the chances increase with age.

Thyroid nodules may not cause any symptoms, except for a feeling of a lump in the neck. If symptoms are present, they may include pain in the area and difficulty swallowing. Doctors can detect the nodules during routine examinations. They may perform tests and ask about symptoms to determine the type of thyroid nodule.

In some cases, nodules don’t need treatment. Patients, however, are told to watch their condition and undergo regular testing for any changes or more nodules, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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Hypothyroid medication such as Levoxyl and Synthroid also may be used. "The idea is that supplying additional thyroid hormone will signal the pituitary to produce less TSH, the hormone that stimulates the growth of thyroid tissue. Although this sounds good in theory, levothyroxine therapy is a matter of some debate. There's no clear evidence that the treatment consistently shrinks nodules or even that shrinking small, benign nodules is necessary," says the Mayo Clinic.

Doctors may recommend surgery if medications don’t work and the symptoms make breathing or swallowing difficult. Enlarged growths, known as goiters, may also require surgery.

If surgery is required, surgeons remove the malignant nodules or most of the thyroid tissue. There are always risks with surgery. Thyroid surgery could cause damage to a nerve that affects the vocal cords. Patients should weigh the risks and benefits with advice from a doctor.

Patients who have undergone thyroid removal will need medication for life to maintain normal hormone levels.

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Thyroid nodules are growths in the thyroid gland, which produces hormones for the body's metabolism and energy needs. A lump in the thyroid at the front of the neck indicates a nodule, but most thyroid nodules don't cause problems.
thyroid, nodules, what, happens
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2016-45-19
Thursday, 19 May 2016 05:45 PM
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