Treatment options will depend on the size and type of thyroid nodule. If your nodule isn’t cancerous and isn’t causing problems, your doctor may decide no need for treatment at all, just watch with regular office visits, lab work, and repeat ultrasounds.
What to do to when you are told you have thyroid nodules?
2. Know if your thyroid function is normal from lab testing (i.e., T3, T4, TSH) and your doctor’s evaluation. Your doctor may take a blood sample to measure levels of T3 and T4—the thyroid hormones (sometimes the tissue in a nodule makes too much of the thyroid hormones), and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH is a hormone made by the pituitary gland to regulate the thyroid's production of T3 and T4. These blood tests cannot detect if a thyroid nodule is cancerous, but will help rule out other thyroid conditions.
3. When a sampling a nodules' cells for testing, the procedure is called a biopsy or fine-needle aspiration (FNA). The biopsy involves using a very small needle to capture the cells. The cells are microscopically examined by a pathologist, to determine if it is cancerous.
4. Understand treatment options and best thing to do may just be to “watch”, if you do not have any symptoms and clinical impression of the nodule is benign. Medication and surgery may also be advised as appropriate.
5. A note on iodine intake – you may have read about iodine deficiency is associated with thyroid disorders. Iodine may be tricky, as too little and too much may both cause problems. People with thyroid disease may be particularly susceptible to ill effects of iodine. Iodine regulation should be under medical guidance; do not take iodine supplement or reduce iodine intake on your own.
6. Follow up is important – thyroid ultrasound repeat at regular intervals will provide meaningful clinical picture. Your doctor will notice the changes from comparison with previous results and advice for medical interventions when necessary.
7. Thyroid nodules are commonly associate with goiter. A goiter is an abnormally large thyroid gland. A goiter develops either because the whole gland is swollen or the gland has multiple growths or nodules on it. Some people with a goiter have no symptoms; others may have symptoms of an overactive or underactive thyroid.
The good news is many people can live a normal life with asymptomatic thyroid nodules without treatment, even the nodules may not go away or being “cured”. For patients who have papillary or follicular type of thyroid cancer may expect a normal life expectancy with treatment.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional for personal conditions.
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