SOLITARY THYROID NODULE – INTRODUCTION

Solitary thyroid nodule

  • Single nodule (a small swelling) in thyroid gland is usually benign (harmless), but at times it may be cancerous. Therefore, it is essential to determine the nature (i.e. benign or malignant) of the nodule.
  • It is more common in females and elderly people.
  • Thyroid nodule is more likely to be cancerous in
    • younger age group (particularly men)
    • individuals with a history of head and neck radiation in childhood.
    • patients suffering from cancer of other parts of body (kidney, lungs or breast)
    • people with family history of thyroid cancer
  • A nodule is more likely to be cancerous if it is:
    • single and hard (normally the thyroid gland is not felt and the hard portion that is felt in the center is the thyroid cartilage and not the gland, also known as Adam’s apple)
    • solid rather than filled with fluid (cystic)
    • not functioning (determined by a thyroid scan)
    • growing rapidly
    • fixed to the surrounding structures (trachea, skin)
    • associated with glandular enlargement (lymph node enlargement)