It is very common to have one or more nodules in a thyroid.
This can range from 20% to 80% of people tested depending on their age, gender and ethnicity. The vast majority of thyroid nodules are benign but some can be malignant (cancerous).
A nodule may present with a noticeable swelling in the neck, pain in the neck or other symptoms. Sometimes nodules are picked up on a scan of the neck (or even lungs) done for another reason. If nodules are greater than a certain size it is important that they are investigated to exclude malignancy. Investigation consists of bloods tests, ultrasound scanning of the neck and sometimes a sample taken with a small needle.
If a nodule is found to be malignant or if there is a high degree of suspicion it may be recommended that part or all of the thyroid gland is removed.
Thyroid cancers are subsequently treated with “Radioactive Iodine” - a very specific treatment for thyroid cancer which is usually very effective. Most cases of thyroid cancer which are detected early have an excellent prognosis.
Here in the Bon Secours Hospital, we have a Multidisciplinary Team approach to thyroid nodules involving Consultant Endocrinologist, Thyroid Surgeon, Radiotherapist and Pathologist. Monthly meetings are held to discuss all such cases and recommendations are then discussed with the patient to come up with an agreed care plan.
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