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Thyroid Conditions Involving Abnormal Growth

Thyroid nodules are very common, typically benign, and usually don’t cause any symptoms other than a lump on the neck. Most often they don’t affect hormone production. They may or may not require any treatment but should be tested to make sure they are not cancerous. Virtua endocrinologists are experienced in detecting such nodules, using additional testing to evaluate them and, if necessary, working with cancer experts on treatment.

Virtua endocrinologists may perform a needle biopsy, in which they use a fine needle to take a small sample of the nodule, under x-ray guidance. An ultrasound or thyroid scan may also help to show the characteristics of the nodule.

Management of a benign nodule may be to watch and wait, if the nodule is small. Or, the endocrinologist may prescribe thyroid hormone supplementation. This increases levels of thyroid hormone in the blood, resulting in less stimulation of the gland to produce hormone, and thus reduction in the size of the nodule.

Treatment for cancerous thyroid overgrowth usually includes surgery to remove the gland and any affected lymph nodes, and radioactive iodine treatment to kill any remaining thyroid tissue. Even if benign, a nodule may require treatment if it presses on other structures in the neck or is making too much thyroid hormone.

Many patients with thyroid nodules have no obvious symptoms. Others have hyperthyroid symptoms or hypothyroid symptoms, or alternately both.

To schedule an appointment with a physician, call 1-888-847-8823.

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