Thyroid nodule (patient information)

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Thyroid nodule


What are the symptoms?

What are the causes?

Who is at highest risk?


When to seek urgent medical care?

Treatment options

Where to find medical care for Thyroid nodule?


What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?

Possible complications

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Aditya Govindavarjhulla, M.B.B.S. [2]


A thyroid nodule is a growth (lump) in the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located at the base of the neck.

What are the symptoms of thyroid nodule?

Most thyroid nodules do not cause symptoms.

What causes thyroid nodule?

Thyroid nodules are growths of cells in the thyroid gland. These growths can be:

Causes of thyroid nodules are not always found, but can include:

Who is at highest risk?

Only a few thyroid nodules are due to thyroid cancer. A thyroid nodule is more likely to be cancer if it is


Very often, nodules produce no symptoms. Doctors will find thyroid nodules only during a routine physical exam or imaging tests that are done for another reason. However, thyroid nodules that are big enough to feel during a physical exam occur in a few people.

If the doctor finds a nodule or you have symptoms of a nodule, the following tests may be done:

When to seek urgent medical care?

Treatment options

(a) Health care provider may recommend surgery to remove all or part of your thyroid gland if the nodule is:

(b) Patients with nodules that are making too much thyroid hormone may be treated with radioactive iodine. This treatment reduces the size and activity of the nodule. Pregnant women should not be given this treatment.

(c) Both surgery to remove thyroid gland tissue and radioactive iodine treatment carry risks of long-term thyroid problems.

(d) For non-cancerous nodules that do not cause symptoms and are not growing, the best treatment may be:

Where to find medical care for thyroid nodule?

Directions to Hospitals Treating Thyroid nodule

What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?

Non-cancerous thyroid nodules are not life threatening. Many do not require treatment. Follow-up exams are enough.

The outlook for thyroid cancer depends on the type of cancer.