The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located at the front of the neck, and it is responsible for promoting growth and development, as well as producing and secreting thyroid hormones that supply energy and metabolic processes in our body. As the amount of thyroid hormone secreted is small and large, it leads to the occurrence of various related diseases such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Thyroid nodule refers to the formation of tumors due to excessive proliferation of cells inside the thyroid gland, which play such an important role. As one of the most common endocrine diseases, it is found in 20% to 40% of adults, and it is reported that the incidence is usually three to four times higher in women than in men. The main cause of thyroid nodules, which is largely divided into benign and malignant, is not known clearly, and it is presumed that various environmental factors, including genetic factors, work together to influence the occurrence. It is known that benign nodules are caused by various causes such as follicular adenoma, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, colloidal nodules, and simple cysts. In addition, insufficient intake of iodine, which is essential for the production of thyroid hormones, has been known to affect the development of thyroid nodules. And about 4-10% of all thyroid nodules are malignant, not benign, and are classified as thyroid cancer. Now, let’s take a closer look at the various symptoms that appear when a thyroid nodule occurs.
Thyroid nodule main symptoms
Most thyroid nodules do not cause any symptoms. When symptoms appear, symptoms may appear differently depending on the location of the nodule. In addition, the nodule compresses the trachea and esophagus, and when it invades the vocal cords, various symptoms such as hoarseness, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, and coughing may appear.
In addition, if thyroiditis is caused by a virus or bacteria, the nodule may suddenly grow in size within a few days, may be accompanied by pain, and hemorrhagic necrosis may occur within the nodule.
Since most thyroid nodules do not show any symptoms, it is difficult to recognize them until the tumor has grown, and it is often discovered incidentally through ultrasonography. If the thyroid nodule is benign, the prognosis is good if it is confirmed that it is not cancer through a biopsy. However, if the shape of the nodule continues to grow, it may cause pressure on the esophagus and trachea around the thyroid gland, which may worsen various related symptoms, so treatment may be required. In addition, if the nodule is very large and hard, or if it grows rapidly over several weeks or months, it is recommended that you visit the hospital for an accurate diagnosis and examination because it is possible to suspect the development of malignant thyroid cancer rather than benign. In addition, since thyroid nodules are often discovered incidentally through ultrasonography, it is important to receive an ultrasound examination at regular check-ups for early detection of thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer.
Diagnosis and treatment of thyroid nodules
1. Diagnosis through multiple tests
In order to diagnose a thyroid nodule, a blood test to measure serum thyroid hormone, an ultrasound test to determine the size, characteristics and location of the nodule, and a thyroid scan to determine whether the nodule is a functional nodule that produces thyroid hormone We will proceed with the inspection method. If nodules are found by ultrasound examination, fine needle aspiration cytology is performed to diagnose cancer. Fine needle aspiration cytology is a test method that collects cells and cystic fluid from a thyroid nodule using a very thin needle and observes them under a microscope.
2. Treatment according to the diagnosis result
If the shape of the nodule is benign through these various tests, regular ultrasound examination and follow-up is a common test method. If you want to treat it for cosmetic purposes, you can proceed with surgical treatment.
In addition, if the thyroid nodule is found to be malignant or suspected of being malignant as a result of microinvasive cytology, surgical treatment is required. In the case of thyroid cancer, it is primarily surgically removed, and various treatment methods such as radioactive iodine therapy and thyroid hormone suppression therapy are performed.