The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the lower neck. It produces hormones that control the metabolism of most organs. The gland may develop nodules. These nodules are palpable in 5-7% of adults, but up to 70% of adults may have nodules that are detectable by ultrasound. Nodules are 4 times more common in women and more common in older populations. Approximately 95% of these nodules are benign, however 5% are cancer.
Your otolaryngologist at West Coast ENT will help you determine whether your thyroid nodule is benign or cancer. Risk factors for cancer include age less than 20 years old or age greater than 70 years old, male sex, history of neck irradiation, and family history of thyroid cancer. You may need an ultrasound and possibly a needle biopsy to help determine the diagnosis. If you are diagnosed with a well-differentiated thyroid cancer, which is by far the most common type, you will need your thyroid gland removed. A thyroidectomy is one of the most common procedures that otolaryngologists perform. Fortunately well-differentiated thyroid cancer is highly curable with appropriate treatment.