Thyroid tumor; Thyroid adenoma; Thyroid carcinoma; Thyroid incidentaloma
A thyroid nodule is a growth (lump) in the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located at the base of the neck.
Thyroid nodules are growths of cells in the thyroid gland. These growths can be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). Some nodules are fluid-filled (cysts), while others are made of thyroid gland cells. Sometimes, what feels like one nodule will actually be a collection of small nodules.
Thyroid nodules are more common in women than in men. A person's chance of a thyroid nodule increases with age.
Only a few thyroid nodules are cancerous. (See: Thyroid cancer)
The following characteristics increase the chances that a thyroid nodule is cancerous:
Causes of thyroid nodules are not always found, but can include:
Gharib H, Papini E, Valcavi R, et al.; AACE/AME Task Force on Thyroid Nodules. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and Associazione Medici Endocrinologi medical guidelines for clinical practice for the diagnosis and management of thyroid nodules. Endocr Pract. 2006;12:63-102.
Schlumberger MJ, Filetti S, Hay ID. Nontoxic Diffuse and Nodular Goiter and Thyroid Neoplasia. In: Kronenberg HM, Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 13.
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