Most people will develop a thyroid nodule by the time they are 50 years old.

Karen Fitzpatrick-Dame, ChhC, AADP
Thyroid nodules are lumps which commonly arise within an otherwise normal thyroid gland. Often these abnormal growths of thyroid tissue are located at the edge of the thyroid gland so they can be felt as a lump in the throat. When they are large or when they occur in very thin individuals, they can even sometimes be seen as a lump in the front of the neck.
The following is a list of facts regarding thyroid nodules:
  • One in 15 young women has a thyroid nodule
  • One in 40 young men has a thyroid nodule
  • More than 95 percent of all thyroid nodules are benign (non-cancerous growths)
  • Some are actually cysts which are filled with fluid rather than thyroid tissue
  • Most people will develop a thyroid nodule by the time they are 50 years old
The incidence of thyroid nodules increases with age
  • 50% of 50 year olds will have at least one thyroid nodule
  • 60% of 60 year olds will have at least one thyroid nodule
  • 70% of 70 year olds will have at least one thyroid nodule
Three questions that should be answered about all thyroid nodules:
  • Is the nodule one of the few that are cancerous ?
  • Is the nodule causing trouble by pressing on other structures in the neck ?
  • Is the nodule making too much thyroid hormone?
After an appropriate work-up, most thyroid nodules will yield an answer of NO to all of the above questions.
In this most common situation, there is a small to moderate sized nodule which is simply an overgrowth of "normal" thyroid tissue, or even a sign that there is too little hormone being produced.
Patients with a diffusely enlarged thyroid (called a goiter) will present with what is perceived at first to be a nodule, but later found to be only one of many benign enlarged growths within the thyroid (a goiter).  Usually a fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNA) will tell if the nodule is cancerous or benign. This one test can get right to the bottom of the issue. Often an Ultrasound examination is necessary to determine the characteristics of a thyroid nodule.
Most thyroid nodules cause no symptoms at all. They are usually found by patients who feel a lump in their throat or see it in the mirror. Occasionally, a family
member or friend will notice a strange lump in the neck of someone with a thyroid nodule. Another common way in which thyroid nodules are found is during a routine examination by a physician.
Occasionally, nodules may cause pain, and even rarer still are those patients who complain of difficulty swallowing when a nodule is large enough and positioned in such a way that it impedes the normal passage of food through the esophagus (which lies behind the trachea and thyroid).
Occasionally a thyroid nodule is found because the patient is undergoing a CT scan, MRI scan, or ultrasound scan of the neck for some other reason (parathyroid disease, carotid artery disease, cervical spine pain, etc). Thyroid nodules found this way (by accident) are cancerous far less than 1% of the time.
If it is confirmed by a physician that the nodule is non-cancerous and benign; and it is confirmed that the benign nodule is not a "HOT" nodule [Nodules that produce excess thyroid hormone] then iodine is a treatment to consider.

Start with testing, then treatment, then re-test again annually.  Learn more.

Step #1:  Comprehensive Thyroid Panel Test available without a prescription.