Robert Ferry Jr., MD, is a U.S. board-certified Pediatric Endocrinologist. After taking his baccalaureate degree from Yale College, receiving his doctoral degree and residency training in pediatrics at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), he completed fellowship training in pediatric endocrinology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
The main function of the thyroid gland in the neck is to make thyroid hormone, which is essential for normal growth and metabolism.
Nodules are simply lumps which are either solid or fluid-filled. Goiter is simply a term for an enlarged thyroid gland. Autopsy studies have revealed that up to 50% of all adults die carrying at least one thyroid nodule. These people may or may not have been aware of the presence of their thyroid nodules.
Thyroid nodules are found more commonly as people age.
Most thyroid nodules are benign and not cancerous.
Only 5% of all thyroid nodules will be discovered to be thyroid cancer.
Finding cancer in a thyroid nodule is more likely in a person
younger than age
30 or older than age 60 years.
However, it is important to remember that only a small percentage of people
with thyroid cancer die as a result of their thyroid cancer.
Thyroid Nodules Causes
Causes of thyroid nodules can be classified as benign (noncancerous) or malignant
Benign Thyroid Nodules
There are a variety of benign thyroid nodules such as goiters, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, thyroid cysts, and benign thyroid tumors (thyroid adenomas).
Multinodular goiter is an overall enlargement of the thyroid gland resulting from nodules,
which either contain too many normal thyroid cells
(referred to as hyperplasia) and/or have been filled with extra colloid. Colloid is the
protein-containing substance that normally stores thyroid hormone inside the thyroid