‘What’s Up Doc’ is a health column in association with The Crawley Observer, which gives you the opportunity to ask questions regarding general health and wellbeing.
Answers are provided weekly from our specialist consultants at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, Surrey. If it’s a long-standing illness or simply a worry which you would like to get off your mind then we would like to help.
This question appeared in The Crawley Observer on Wednesday 17 April 2013, to readers across Surrey and Sussex. The question and answer is below, as it appeared in the newspaper.
Read the response by Dr Sunil Zachariah, consultant endocrinologist:
Dear doctor, I have been told I may have a thyroid nodule, what are the chances that I have thyroid cancer? Can this be treated? What happens next? Can you help? Thanks. Anonymous.
Dear reader, finding small thyroid nodules in the thyroid gland can be entirely normal. However on palpating the neck or on ultrasound if the nodule is more than 1 cm it is important that you contact the GP or endocrinologist to see if further tests are required.
Generally if the thyroid nodule is larger than 1cm or if there are any suspicious features on ultrasound, an ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration is recommended. This is analysed by the pathologists for any sinister features and further follow-up plan is made.
If thyroid malignancy is found, referral is immediately made for the case to be discussed in the thyroid multidisciplinary meeting which includes the endocrinologist, surgeon, radiologist and oncologist.
Treatment modality depends on the type of thyroid malignancy. However reassuringly only a minority of patients with thyroid nodules end up needing any intervention.