Thyroid Disorders & Treatments Nodules & Cancer
If you have a thyroid nodule that has been found to be malignant it must be removed. This also goes for a nodule whose cause is not clear, the biopsy being inadequate to show that it is definitely harmless. This happens about 10% of the time, often because the nodule has been present for some time or for a variety of other reasons.
If your nodule does not contain cancer but is very large and cosmetically unsightly, your physician may recommend that it be removed. Although this type of thyroid surgery is usually less difficult than operations in which most or all of the thyroid gland must be removed, it's still best to make sure the surgeon to do the operation is experienced in thyroid surgery as indicated elsewhere on this website under Choosing a Thyroid Surgeon.
Sometimes thyroid hormone is prescribed to try to reduce the size of a non-malignant nodule. Here again the opinion of a thyroid specialist who is familiar with new research about such treatment is important. If thyroid hormone is given to reduce the size of a benign nodule, the dose must be carefully chosen and the effect of treatment checked with thyroid hormone and TSH levels to be sure that hyperthyroidism is not being produced by a dose of thyroid hormone that is too high for you. The result could be osteoporosis as calcium is lost from bone or a serious heart arrhythmia or heart attack.
This is an important area of continuing thyroid research. We will keep you up to date with occasional research reports of major new findings from endocrine journals and thyroid research conferences under Recently Published Thyroid Research on this website. For the best overview of new discoveries, however, we urge you to see a thyroid specialist in consultation. If you physician doesn't know one in your area, see Finding a Specialist on this website.