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Thyroid Diseases

Goiter or Nodule Problem

03/09/2006

Question:

I have a growth in my throat where the thyroid is located on the left side. It is about the size of a large grape. The Doc. had my thyroid checked but it came back normal. I am having other symptoms (trouble choking, loss of hair, dry ichy skin, stiff neck and headache.) I can`t get an appointment with the ENT for a month. I don`t want to worry that long. If you can give me any clue to what this could be it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Answer:

It sound like you may have what is called a "solitary thyroid nodule."  It is possible that your choking might be related to the nodule, though it doesn't sound to me like the nodule is large enough to be causing as much trouble as you are describing.  Your other symptoms are not likely to be related to the nodule if your thyroid blood tests were normal. 

If you do have a solitary thyroid nodule, you should have a fine needle aspiration.  The ENT doctor can do this for you.  Most thyroid nodules are nothing to worry about.  They may be outgrowths of otherwise basically normal thyroid tissue, benign tumors, cysts, or areas of thyroid inflammation. 

About 5-10% of all solitary thyroid nodules are thyroid cancers.  However, thyroid cancer in general is not like other cancers - it is very slow-growing and responds very well to treatment.  So even if this is a thyroid cancer - and the odds are against that possibility - it would still probably be very treatable and not something life-threatening (as long as it was treated).  It is unlikely that waiting a month to see a specialist about this would result in a poorer outcome, though I understand that you would be less anxious if you could have it evaluated sooner.

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Response by:

Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University