Thyroid Nodules (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
What To Think About
If a nodule is noncancerous but is producing too much thyroid hormone, causing hyperthyroidism, antithyroid medicines may be used before radioactive iodine treatment. For more information on treating hyperthyroidism, see the topic Hyperthyroidism.
Surgery is the best treatment for thyroid nodules that are:
People who develop thyroid nodules after receiving radiation treatment to the head, neck, or chest are more likely to need surgery because their risk for developing thyroid cancer is greater. But most nodules in people who have had radiation therapy are not cancerous.
For information about thyroid cancer and its treatment, see the topic Thyroid Cancer.
The most common surgical procedure to remove thyroid nodules is thyroidectomy.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) suppression therapy may be given to shrink noncancerous thyroid nodules. This uses medicines such as levothyroxine (for example, Synthroid, Levoxyl, or Levothroid), liothyronine (for example, Cytomel), liotrix (Thyrolar), or desiccated thyroid (for example, Armour Thyroid).
It is not clear how well thyroid-stimulating hormone suppression therapy works to shrink noncancerous thyroid nodules. If you have a noncancerous nodule, talk to your doctor about whether TSH suppression therapy is right for you.
TSH suppression therapy can raise your risk of heart and bone problems, especially if you have heart disease or osteoporosis. If you have heart disease, this kind of medicine can make chest pain or problems with your heart rhythm worse. It can also raise your chances of heart attack. If you have osteoporosis, TSH suppression therapy can further weaken your bones.
What To Think About
Hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone) occurs in some people after being treated with radioactive iodine for thyroid nodules. For this reason, your doctor will check your thyroid hormone levels regularly after you have this treatment.
If a thyroid nodule is not cancerous but is making too much thyroid hormone, causing hyperthyroidism, antithyroid medicines may be used before radioactive iodine treatment. For more information on treating hyperthyroidism, see the topic Hyperthyroidism.
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