Your thyroid is located above your breastbone near the base of your neck. If fluid-filled lumps or solid lumps form within the small thyroid gland, you may notice symptoms such difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, sudden weight loss, or feelings of anxiety. In many cases, however, people do not discover that they have thyroid nodules until their doctor discovers the problem during a routine exam. There are many conditions that can cause nodule development.
Thyroid nodule causes include:
- Thyroid Cyst – Cysts are fluid-filled cavities that are typically benign, but portions of these cysts can be malignant
- Iodine Deficiency – Insufficient iodine in a person’s diet can cause the thyroid gland to develop nodules
- Chronic Inflammation – Hashimoto’s disease is a thyroid disorder that can lead to inflammation of the thyroid. When the thyroid gland is inflamed and enlarged, the activity of the gland can become significantly compromised
- Thyroid Adenoma – This is the overgrowth of thyroid tissue and is usually benign. In most cases, this condition does not cause further complications. However, some individuals with thyroid adenoma develop hyperthyroidism—the overproduction of thyroid hormones
- Thyroid Cancer – In most cases, thyroid nodules are not cancerous. However, your family history and other risk factors such as exposure to radiation may increase your chances of developing malignant forms of thyroid nodules
Regular medical checkups are important for possible detection of a number of health conditions, including the development of thyroid nodules. While most thyroid issues can be treated without surgery, it is important to rule out cancer just in case surgery is needed to prevent the problem from spreading to other areas of your body. When detected early enough, thyroid cancer can be effectively treated with an excellent prognosis. Other conditions may require medications and other nonsurgical methods short- or long-term.
If you have any questions about thyroid nodules or thyroid or parathyroid surgery, you should speak to your local doctor, who will arrange to contact your thyroid surgeon.