The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits in the front of the lower neck. Its main function is to produce thyroid hormones that circulate in the bloodstream. These hormones help to regulate multiple organs in the body and our metabolism.
Thyroid nodules are abnormal lumps (growths) of cells within the thyroid gland. They can appear as solitary nodules (single), or multinodular goitres (multiple), and can be solid, cystic (fluid-filled), or a combination of both. While majority of thyroid nodules are benign (non-cancerous), a small proportion may represent thyroid cancer.
Thyroid nodule in the left lobe of thyroid gland
When detected, a blood test for thyroid function is required, to determine if there is associated abnormality in thyroid hormone production.
There are other tests that help us evaluate if a thyroid nodule is concerning for cancer:
Not all thyroid nodules require surgical intervention. Thyroid nodules that are benign may be monitored with surveillance tests, such as ultrasonography.
You may be advised for thyroid surgery in the following instances:
The recommended treatment for thyroid cancer is thyroidectomy. This involves removal of a portion or the whole thyroid gland. Certain cancers may also require removal of surrounding lymph nodes in the neck. There may be additional adjuvant treatment after the surgery, such as radioiodine treatment. If you have concerns on a cancerous thyroid nodule or a nodule suspected for cancer, speak to your doctor to find out more about the appropriate treatment.