Thyroid nodules and carcinomas

Thyroid nodules are not uncommon, tend to be discovered incidentally, and are rarely malignant. Thyroid carcinomas have a very low mortality.

Possible symptoms of nodules and carcinomas:

  • A feeling of pressure, swelling or nodules on the neck
  • A pulling sensation when breathing in and/or out
  • Incidental finding on an ultrasound examination
  • Incidental finding on a CT or MRI scan

Nodules of the thyroid gland are diagnosed by palpation, laboratory examination, ultrasound and scintigraphy. Occasionally, a fine needle aspiration is also necessary. Benign nodules do not produce hormones – the identifying feature on scintigraphy.

Nodules that are irregularly bordered on ultrasound, low in echoes and calcified are suspicious. In this case, surgical removal may be appropriate. Depending on the findings, the entire thyroid gland may have to be removed.

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