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Thyroid nodules: Lumps (nodules) in thyroid gland

  1. Thyroid nodules are nodules located in the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located in the front of the throat, next to the trachea and esophagus. The nodules (nodules) can sometimes be seen or felt on the side or in the middle of the throat, but this can usually only be detected by imaging. Various causes are known, including many thyroid disorders, but the cause cannot always be traced. Difficulty breathing and swallowing are some of the possible symptoms of the thyroid nodules. The lumps are treated by surgery and / or medicinally.

Epidemiology of thyroid nodules

  1. About 30% of people between 19 and 50 years old have nodules detectable through a scan

Thyroid nodules

  1. Thyroid nodules are the result of several possible factors, such as cysts (abnormally shaped cavities in the body), an autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland, an overactive thyroid gland, an overgrowth of the thyroid gland, inflammation]


  1. Some nodules are easy to feel, while others are hidden deep in the thyroid tissue or very low in the thyroid gland, making them difficult or impossible to feel. In most cases, the patient does not notice any signs. If symptoms do occur with thyroid nodules, they are related to the location of the nodules. In addition, large nodules sometimes press on the throat, trachea and / or esophagus, resulting in, for example, a full feeling in the throat, a loud voice, breathing problems, difficulty swallowing or even choking when lying down. Furthermore, the lymph nodes (swollen lymph nodes) in the neck (local lymphadenopathy) enlarge, resulting in a bump in the neck

Diagnosis and investigations

  1. Thyroid nodules are usually found by the doctor by accident during an imaging examination for another disease. The following imaging studies are able to detect nodules in the thyroid gland: an ultrasound, a CT scan or an MRI scan of the neck area. A thyroid ultrasound focuses specifically on the thyroid area. Furthermore, a blood test shows an abnormally low or high level of the thyroid hormone and thyroid stimulating hormone in the body. The blood test may also show signs of an autoimmune condition. Thanks to the tests, the doctor knows whether the problem is in the thyroid gland itself or elsewhere. A fine needle biopsy (removing piece of tissue) / aspiration (removing small amount of material) of the nodule is also necessary to detect the type of nodule: benign or malignant. Furthermore, a thyroid scan

Thyroid Nodule Prognosis

  1. More than ninety percent of thyroid nodules are benign. If a nodule is malignant, it is normally treatable, but the effect of the treatment will depend on the underlying disease. Most cancers are well differentiated. The prognosis is excellent here, especially when diagnosed by the doctor at an early stage. Poorly differentiated cancer is more difficult to treat.

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