Feel a lump or few in front of your throat? While this could be the sign of a Thyroid Nodule, the good news is that it need not be as life-threatening (an event) as you fear it to be.
Your thyroid gland is an endocrine gland located in the front of the neck. It is responsible for the release of hormones that play an important role in sustaining your growth and energy needs.
A variety of reasons can cause your thyroid gland to develop a lump ranging from the build-up of tissue mass to fluid-filled cysts that can lead to the formation of nodules.
It is believed that women have three times the possibility of getting lumps as compared to men. With most of these nodules or cysts being non-cancerous by nature.
Genes play an important role in the occurrence of thyroid nodules. In addition, a diet poor in iodine intake can be a trigger. There are certain pre-existing medical conditions that can bring about these nodules like Thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s disease or thyroid cancer.
Goitre and thyroid nodules are not very different. The term goitre indicates that the thyroid gland is enlarged and it might contain small nodules. Nodules refer to small swelling or cluster of cells that grow abnormally. They are usually benign but if they are larger than 2cm, doctors will usually test for cancer.
Thyroid Nodules do not always need treatment - they can go away on their own. After a series of tests, the doctor will decide the next steps. If ‘Watchful waiting’ is not an option, your doctor will make one of the following recommendations, based on the cause of nodules and severity.
Based on the cause of the nodules, a doctor may consider treatment pathways like Thyroid hormone suppression via medication or administering radioactive Iodine capsules in case of Hyperthyroidism.
When the nodules are too large or numerous that they constrict airways, surgery is recommended. Benign tumours are also removed, as are nodules diagnosed as indeterminate or suspicious by a biopsy. If the problem persists or medication-based treatment fails, surgery may be recommended as a final resort.