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Thyroid Nodules

Thyroid nodules are abnormal growths within the thyroid gland. Up to 90 percent of these nodules are benign, although they can be cancerous. Thyroid nodules affect up to seven percent of the U.S. adult population, occurring more often in women than in men and becoming more common with age.

Most thyroid nodules do not produce symptoms. If you have one or more nodules, you might notice a lump in your neck, or your doctor might discover the condition during a routine examination. Physicians sometimes find thyroid nodules by chance while diagnosing or treating other conditions, such as carotid artery disease. If a growth is large enough, you might experience problems such as:

  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain in the neck

Additionally, a few thyroid nodules cause excess production of thyroid hormones, which play a role in many body functions, including regulation of body temperature and heart rate. Such nodules can produce typical symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as fatigue, increased appetite and nervousness.

On the other hand, thyroid nodules can also result from Hashimoto's disease, an autoimmune disorder that often causes hypothyroidism. In such cases, you might experience symptoms of having too little thyroid hormone, such as weight gain, dry skin and intolerance to cold.

If you or your doctor discover that you have a thyroid nodule, you might feel anxious. At Indiana University Health, we carefully evaluate all thyroid nodules to determine whether they represent a more serious condition. Fortunately, the vast majority of these nodules are not cancerous and do not present a serious threat to your health. Despite this, we thoroughly assess all thyroid nodules to ensure prompt diagnosis of cancer or other problems, if they are present. We also provide reassurance and continued follow-up if you do not need immediate treatment.

We work with you as a vital member of the healthcare team throughout your diagnosis and treatment. We create an individual care plan based on the nature of your thyroid nodule and your needs and preferences. Our goal is to use the least invasive means possible to be certain you are not at risk of cancer or other health problems.

We assess thyroid nodules using a combination of clinical expertise and advanced technology. Our partnership with the Indiana University School of Medicine means we have access to the latest tools and techniques for diagnosis and treatment. In addition, we conduct research to improve management of endocrine disorders, and we prepare the next generation of doctors for practice.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Thyroid Nodules Treatment Information

We use a variety of diagnostic tools to evaluate thyroid nodules, including:

Options for managing thyroid nodules include:

Thyroid Nodules Locations & Physicians

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Thyroid Nodules Support Services

More information on thyroid nodules is available at these websites: