Who it affects
Thyroid nodules and cysts are very common and usually benign. They are increasingly being detected because of the widespread availability of ultrasound and CT scanning.
What gland is involved
The thyroid gland lies in the front part of the neck just under skin and below the thyroid cartilage (Adam`s apple).
Thyroid nodules or cysts are detected increasingly commonly during routine scanning for other reasons. These may cause no symptoms. In other patients a visible swelling below the skin may be seen and may change in size over time.
A thyroid nodule or cyst can be detected on examination or using an ultrasound scan. To clarify whether such a lesion is benign or malignant requires further investigation; tests that are used to help clarify include fine needle aspiration, ultrasound and isotope scanning.
Treatment depends upon the nature of the suspected thyroid nodule or cyst. Benign lesions are generally observed. Malignant lesions are removed surgically. Indeterminate lesions are also generally removed surgically. Large lesions, whether benign on FNA or not, are often removed surgically. It is important to inform your doctor if you feel the lesion is changing in appearance.
Benign thyroid lesions are of little consequence and do not adversely affect a patients long-term health.