Thyroid nodules are solid or fluid-filled lumps that form within your thyroid gland, a small gland located at the base of your neck, just above your breastbone. Most thyroid nodules aren’t serious and don’t cause symptoms. Only a small percentage of thyroid nodules are cancerous. You often won’t know you have a thyroid nodule until your doctor discovers it during a routine medical exam or through a scan done for another health reason.

Here are some key points about thyroid nodules:

  1. Symptoms:
    • Most thyroid nodules don’t cause signs or symptoms.
    • Occasionally, large nodules can:
      • Be felt.
      • Be seen, often as a swelling at the base of your neck.
      • Press on your windpipe or esophagus, causing shortness of breath or difficulty swallowing.
    • Some nodules may produce additional thyroxine, a hormone secreted by your thyroid gland, leading to symptoms of hyperthyroidism (overproduction of thyroid hormones). These symptoms may include:
      • Unexplained weight loss
      • Increased sweating
      • Tremor
      • Nervousness
      • Rapid or irregular heartbeat.
  2. Cancer Risk:
    • Only a small number of thyroid nodules are cancerous.
    • Determining which nodules are cancerous requires medical evaluation and cannot be done based on symptoms alone.
    • Most cancerous thyroid nodules are slow-growing and may be small when discovered.
    • Aggressive thyroid cancers are rare and may present as large, firm, fixed, and rapidly growing nodules.
  3. When to Seek Medical Attention:
    • If you notice unusual swelling in your neck, especially if it affects your breathing or swallowing, consult your doctor.
    • Seek medical care if you experience signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism (insufficient thyroid hormone production).

Remember to consult a healthcare provider for personalized evaluation and management if you suspect thyroid nodules.