J.S. asks from Green Cove Springs, FL on July 14, 2011
Tumors/nodules on Thyroid
I have been dealing with nodules on my Thyroid for several years. I just came back from the Endocrinologist and the two that I have doubled in size in the past two years. Yikes. One measures at 2.2 CM the other 1.2. I go in for a biopsy on Wednesday. I have already had one two years ago that came back inconclusive, or in other words they didn't get enough good cells to test it. My thyroid levels have always fallen in the normal ranges, and I don't have any symptoms. Has anyone else dealt with this before? My doc really didn't seem overly concerned so there is something there, but it would help to know someone else that has had to deal with this. Thanks
So What Happened?™
Doing the biopsy just to make sure it's not cancer
J.B. answers from Rochester on July 14, 2011
OMG- I just found out that my mom has a module on her thyroid. She is going for further tests but the Dr. is not concerned right now. I was just reading up on it and learned that most modules are benign and are treated by being removed along with the thyroid. Then, one is on medicine for producing the hormone that the thyroid is supposed to. Hope everything goes well for you and sending positive thoughts your way.
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C.V. answers from Los Angeles on July 14, 2011
Here's a quick answer from a cancer surgeon that should allay your fears. Many people deal with this problem. An overwhelming portion of the time, the nodules are benign. Sometimes the nodules form on an overactive thyroid, or the nodules themselves are the only overactive "hot spot" functioning independently of the rest of the thyroid. Generally, those will show with abnormal blood work and possibly symptoms of an overactive thyroid, known as hyperthyroidism. They are not cancers. However, cancer nodules, generally speaking, are non-functional, so they would never have abnormal blood work or symptoms associated with them. When the nodules start to grow, you need a biopsy to make sure they are benign, non-functioning nodules instead of a cancer. Regardless, like I said, the overwhelming majority of nodules on the thyroid are benign and meaningless. Most people probably have some degree of nodularity on their thyroids, but they and/or their physician never noticed. Try not to worry. And...in the very unlikely event that this is a thyroid malignancy, the majority are very curable.
Good luck with your biopsy.
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J.R. answers from Glens Falls on July 14, 2011
I would say if this next biopsy comes back inconclusive, seriously consider just having it out and being done with it. I followed nodules for years, too, then finally had the surgery which was no big deal and everything was benign. It was such a worry and it was good to be past it. Good luck!
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J.S. answers from Tampa on July 15, 2011
I feel compelled to respond to your post, and really wish that I had been able to speak to someone PRIOR to my experience, but I did not. If the next biopsies are inconclusive and you have no symptoms, please do not consider surgery. I had several nodules all over my thyroid, so many that it was covered with them. Three biopsies all came back inconclusive, and the doctors were pretty sure there may be some cancer there because I DO have a family history of thyroid cancer in my family on BOTH sides. I was quite nervous about the cancer possibility (obviously) and went forward with the surgery. I HAD been having symptoms, and my thyroid was not functioning correctly, so that was also a factor in my choice. My biggest fear in surgery was getting a MRSA staff infection, because my husband almost died from a post surgical infection (MRSA) several years prior, and I had been colonixed with it so we made sure to treat me before surgery with antibiotics to help prevent the infection risks. (also during surgery I was given injections of the very strong antibiotic directly into the surgical site) Well, my entire thyroid was removed and I take medication daily to make up for it. That's no big deal really. The labs came back on the thyroid itself after surgery, (once removed), and it turns out there was no cancer. It was all "precancerous nodules" The big issue is however, was that during my surgery, 2 of my parathyroids were either damaged, or removed accidentally. I believe they were removed since it was almost 2 years ago and the problems from it are still present today. This is a VERY COMMON thing that can happen with thyroid surgery. The parathyroids are tiny, like pencil eraser size, and are on the same blood supply as your thyroid. They get "accidentally" removed more often than not during these "routine" surgeries. Your parathyroids are what help your body maintain calcium. Without them, you cannot keep your calcium levels up high enough. Never in my life would I have thought that having low calcium levels in the blood would be such a MAJOR problem, but let me tell you it is! I was told that the "normal" range is between 10 to 12 in a blood test. Mine regularly tests around 7.5 to 8 when I am lucky. Without enough calcium, you get tingling and numbness in the hands, feet, face, and then SEVERE cramping in those areas. They also kind of freeze of lock up in a claw like position or feet turned in a bit. It is VERY painful. I currently take 14 caltrate a day as well as 6 calcitriol (a prescription medication to do the job of the parathyroids) to try to help with the issue. If your calcium levels go low enough, you can have seizures and even go into a coma or die. It is serious stuff! The calcium suppliments that I take daily make me very nauseus, so I have to take fennergan (anti nausea) meds daily as well. Even with all of this, I end up having the calcium cramping at least once a day. I have to stop whatever I am doing and take MORE calcium, and wait for it to work and the pain to go away. I have bloodwork regularly to check my calcium levels. (as well as the levels of the thyroid meds I am on)
Knowing what I know now, I really REALLY wish I had opted to wait and not have the surgery and just go on the meds for my thyroid so it would function better. I am taking thyroid meds anyway. I wish you the best, and hope that your biopsy comes out benign, but please think it over long and hard before you decide to go forward with surgery if that is what your doctors reccomend. At the very least speak to the doctors about your parathyroids and if your surgeon has had any cases like mine. It is VERY common I am told. So common, it is in the papers that you sign as a normal risk of the surgery prior to actually having the operation. (that way they are not liable) My whole life is different because of this now. I just wanted you to know what other risks there are in case like me, nobody told you. Best of luck, and good health to you!!
M.J. answers from Chicago on July 14, 2011
Hi J. - I went through what you're going through right now about four years ago. I discovered a lump on my thyroid one morning in the shower and immediately hit the panic button and made a doc appt for later that day. I was sent straight to the hospital for an ultrasound and later was told it was 3.4cm in size. It was so odd because all of the questions / symptoms they asked me about I hadn't noticed and also my levels came back perfect. I was then referred to a specialist who biopsied the mass and it was found to be benign but I was told to schedule surgery to have it removed because of it's size (I did get two opinions and they were both identical). I was scheduled for the surgery to remove the nodule along with 1/2 of my thyroid on a Monday morning and that Friday afternoon the doctor called me to tell me he was looking over my records and he can not be sure whether or not it is cancer but to not worry cuz we'd be finding out soon enough and that he'd see me Monday morning!! Not to worry ... come on ... after a call like that!! Luckily my nodule was found to be benign so they only had to remove 1/2 of my thyroid and the surgery was not all that bad. I was a little freaked out by the scar across my neck afterwards but it's become less and less noticable. Good luck to you and feel free to personal message me with any questions you might have!!
**Forgot to add** If it is found to be cancer try not to panic because I was told that thyroid cancer is very curable. My aunt actually had a similar experience to myself only her nodules were found to be cancerous so she had her entire thyroid removed and is now doing very well - I believe she is on meds though to make up for the lose of her thyroid. Her scar was larger than mine being that her entire thyroid was removed but she does an excellent job with covering it up with make-up!!
A.G. answers from Mayaguez on July 16, 2011
My daughter had her nodules removed a few years ago. The precedure went well, recoup was fast, and now she takes Synthroid daily. I've had nodules in mine for years with no noticeable changes. I'm sure you will be ok too. Good luck and God bless.
K.L. answers from Redding on July 14, 2011
If your blood work is normal, and you have no symptoms, why is the Dr doing anything else? Im not sure I understand why you have to go thru this unless it can potentially turn into something later. Do you know?
I had blood work that shows I have a problem with my parathyroid. The parathyroid are 4 small (grain of rice size) glands in the thyroid that do certain things, one being regulate calcium levels. Mine arent working right and the parathyroid is telling my body to make more calcium than I need and I have frequent,reoccuring kidney stones. Im supposed to have the tests to show which of the 4 glands is a problem and have it removed. So, I just wonder what the Dr is looking for in this nodules on your thyroid. Dont you just wish our bodies wouldnt have all this stuff wrong? (o: