The discovery of a new lump anywhere in the body, including the thyroid gland, can cause concern and warrant an appointment with a Phelps Health ENT (ear, nose and throat) provider.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland normally located in the lower front of the neck. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormones control functions such as body temperature, digestion and heart functions, and keep bodily organs in working order.
A thyroid nodule is an unusual growth or lump of thyroid cells in the thyroid gland. Approximately 50% of people will develop a thyroid nodule by age 50. Thyroid nodules do not typically cause symptoms and are found during routine physical exams or other imaging studies. The good news is that the vast majority of thyroid nodules are benign, with less than 5% of thyroid nodules harboring cancer.
If a thyroid nodule is discovered, you should work with your physician to schedule an ultrasound exam. This exam will give you insight into the location, size and number of thyroid nodules in your thyroid gland and can help determine your overall risk of thyroid cancer. In addition, a thyroid-stimulating hormone level should be checked to assess the health and overall functioning of your thyroid gland.
Depending on the ultrasound appearance, as well as associated risk factors, your physician may recommend a needle biopsy of the nodule to determine if any further treatment is warranted. While most thyroid nodules are benign, there are some that may require more aggressive treatments, such as surgery.
If you have a first-degree relative with thyroid cancer, such as a parent or sibling, your chances of developing thyroid cancer increases. If you have been exposed to external beam radiation for treatment of other cancers or tumors, or you were exposed to radiation early in life, you also are at an increased risk of future thyroid issues. Other concerning symptoms to look out for may include a rapidly growing thyroid nodule, persistent hoarseness of the voice or enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.
Otolaryngology (ENT) Surgeon Brian Kriete, MD, and his colleagues at Phelps Health, work with patients to diagnose, monitor and if needed, perform surgery for thyroid nodules. If you are concerned about a possible thyroid nodule, or have a thyroid nodule that needs to be examined, please call (573) 458-5719 to schedule an appointment with a Phelps Health ENT provider today.
Otolaryngology (ENT) Surgeon Brian Kriete, MD, completed his residency in otolaryngology in San Antonio, Texas, at the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium (SAUSHEC) in 2010. He earned his medical degree from Saint Louis University School of Medicine in 2005. Dr. Kriete is skilled in treating the sinuses, thyroid, parathyroid diseases, allergies, ear problems, dizziness, swallowing disorders, reflux disorders, voice disorders, nasal obstructions, and most head and neck cancers.