The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located under the bulge around the neck. It regulates the speed of the body’s overall metabolic processes to secrete and store thyroid hormones that maintain the proper functioning of all organs, and then release them into the blood whenever needed. Thyroid nodule refers to the formation of lumps in the thyroid gland, which plays an important role, due to various causes. According to histological characteristics, it is known to be divided into hyperproliferative nodules, colloidal nodules, inflammatory nodules, cystic nodules, and neoplastic nodules. The factors that influence the development of thyroid nodules are not clearly known. It is presumed that various types of environmental factors, including genetic factors, influence the occurrence. It is known that hyperproliferative nodules, which are representative benign nodules, are caused by environmental factors that induce the proliferation of thyroid cells, such as iodine deficiency. Now, let’s learn about the main symptoms, treatment, and management of thyroid nodules one by one.
Thyroid nodule main symptoms
Most thyroid nodules are asymptomatic. Thyroid cancer, which is a benign nodule, often has no symptoms. And in some patients, the nodule compresses the surrounding tissue, the esophagus or airway, causing symptoms such as difficulty swallowing and breathing difficulties. In addition, if the nodule suddenly enlarges and is accompanied by pain, hemorrhagic necrosis occurs within the nodule, and thyroiditis may be caused by viruses or bacteria. In addition, symptoms such as sore throat or cough may appear because they grow by adhering to the surrounding tissues and invade the vocal cords. Thyroid nodules diagnosed as benign are usually enlarged in size, have poor aesthetic appearance, have a good treatment course, and do not show any special symptoms because they do not metastasize to other parts of the body. However, if left untreated, thyroid cancer, a malignant nodule, can metastasize to other areas and lead to fatal results. Therefore, if the nodule has suddenly grown in recent weeks or months, or if the nodule presses on the esophagus or airway, symptoms such as dyspnea and dysphagia appear, and various symptoms such as a change in voice appear, it is possible to suspect the development of thyroid cancer, a malignant nodule. Therefore, it is recommended that you undergo an appropriate examination.
How to treat and manage your thyroid gland
1. Examination and Treatment
To diagnose thyroid nodules, cells are obtained from thyroid nodules with a syringe and microneedle aspiration cytology is performed to distinguish benign and malignant tumors. And to check the condition of the nodule more closely, various tests such as blood tests, CT scans, thyroid stimulating hormone measurement, and thyroid scans can be performed.
2. Treatment according to the diagnosis result
If a benign nodule is diagnosed as a result of microinvasive cytology, follow-up is performed with regular ultrasound examination to determine the change in the size of the nodule. In addition, if cancer is suspected or if the goiter becomes very large and causes symptoms, surgery is necessary. If the patient wants surgery for cosmetic purposes, surgery can be considered even if it is benign. In addition, if a malignant thyroid cancer is diagnosed as a result of the examination, it is primarily removed by surgery, and treatments such as radioactive iodine therapy and thyroid hormone suppression therapy are performed according to the surgical pathology results.
3. Steady management
Since there is no special preventive method for thyroid nodules, proper treatment and management after they occur is very important. Maintaining a balanced diet consisting of foods high in various vitamins and minerals to maintain a good nutritional status, and to exercise adequately is an important lifestyle rule not only for the prevention of thyroid cancer but also for post-operative management. In addition, excessive consumption of meat containing animal fat, processed foods with high content of artificial additives and seasonings, and instant foods increase the risk of thyroid cancer as well as other diseases and cancers. There is no special food for thyroid cancer patients, but seaweeds containing a lot of iodine, such as seaweed, kelp, and seaweed, go through a process of limiting intake for 2 weeks to help smooth treatment during isotope treatment.