While most thyroid nodules are benign, to detect them early, it is important to see your endocrinologist if you find a suspicious lump.
Thyroid nodules are quite common. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, when ultrasound exams are performed on this area of the body, an estimated 65% of the population are expected to have a nodule as a result of the abnormal growth of thyroid cells. In most cases, however, these tumors are benign and only a small percentage of all cases (4 to 6%) are diagnosed as thyroid cancer.
How do they develop?
Most thyroid nodules do not cause symptoms. They are therefore most commonly detected by physicians during routine exams. Sometimes, if they are very superficial, you can feel them by touching the neck or they can even be seen in the mirror and they can easily be mistaken for a swollen lymph node. As stated by MedlinePlus, upon the sign of any strange lump, the suggestion is to see your physician to rule out a diagnosis.
Notice whether the nodule is growing: If the exams that have been taken show that the nodule is not malignant, it is best to get follow-up exams every 6 to 12 months. A clear warning sign to physicians is whether they grow or not.
Why are they so common?
According to the Endocrinology and Nutrition Unit of the Regional Hospital of Málaga in Spain, thyroid nodules can occur as a result of iron deficiency, as this nutrient is what helps most people to produce thyroid hormones.
Related article: The thyroid (article in Spanish)