Thyroid Nodules and Cancer
About 5% of thyroid nodules that are found during a physical examination in adults are cancerous.1 Nodules that develop after radiation therapy are more likely to be cancerous. On average, cancer develops 10 to 20 years after radiation therapy. A multinodular goiter is as likely to be cancerous as a single nodule.
Thyroid nodules are less common in children than adults. Although some studies have shown cancerous nodules are more common in children, other studies have found the risk is similar in children and adults.2
There are five types of cancerous nodules.
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