Thyroid cancer

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Thyroid tumor (benign or cancerous) is the most common tumor of the endocrine system (glandular system secreting chemical substances known as hormones). Thyroid cancers usually causes small growths (nodules) within the thyroid.

A thyroid nodule is more likely to be benign if:

  • there is a family history of goiter
  • symptoms of hypothyroidism (under functioning) or hyperthyroidism (over functioning) are present
  • there is pain or tenderness (pain on pressure) associated with the nodule

A thyroid nodule is more likely to be cancerous if it is:

  • single and hard
  • 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)