Thyroid nodules are a common occurrence that can affect the thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped organ located in the neck. These nodules are small, abnormal growths that form within the thyroid tissue. While most thyroid nodules are harmless and don’t cause noticeable symptoms, some can raise concerns. Understanding what thyroid nodules are, their potential causes and the importance of their evaluation is essential for ensuring overall thyroid health.

What Are Thyroid Nodules?

Thyroid nodules are solid or fluid-filled lumps that form within the thyroid gland. The majority are benign and don’t cause symptoms, but a small fraction of them can be cancerous.

How Are Thyroid Nodules Diagnosed?

The majority of thyroid nodules are asymptomatic. You often won’t know you have a thyroid nodule until your doctor discovers it during a routine medical exam. Or it may be an incidental finding from scans that are performed during health screening.. Some thyroid nodules, however, may become large enough to be visible or make it difficult to swallow or breathe.
A small proportion of thyroid nodules may produce thyroid hormones and causes hyperthyroidism., Symptoms are similar to those of hyperthyroidism when this happens.
Management of thyroid nodules depends on the type of thyroid nodule you have. Your doctor may advice that you have a fine needle aspiration and cytology (FNAC) to determine the type of cells in the nodule and hence its risk of being cancerous. Certain factors increase your risk of thyroid cancer, such as a family history of thyroid or other endocrine cancers and having a history of radiation exposure.

Fine-Needle Aspiration (FNA) Biopsy

A fine-needle aspiration biopsy might be recommended if a nodule is suspicious based on size, characteristics, or other factors. A small tissue sample is collected from the nodule using a thin needle during this procedure. The sample is then examined under a microscope to determine if the nodule is benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Dr. Cho Li Wei 朱丽薇医生

Consultant Endocrinologist
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