Thyroid nodules are growths, or collections of cells, that form on the thyroid. In most cases, thyroid nodules are benign, meaning they are not cancerous. They usually do not grow or spread and do not cause pain or other symptoms.
In some cases, though, thyroid nodules are malignant, or cancerous. Cancerous thyroid growths can affect the functioning of the thyroid and cause other symptoms, including difficulty swallowing and swelling in the neck.
Are You at Risk for Thyroid Disease?
Approximately 12 million Americans are affected by thyroid disease. Thyroid diseases occur at least five times more frequently in women than in men.
- As many as ten percent of women over age 65 have an underactive thyroid.
- Thyroid dysfunction complicates between 5 percent and 9 percent of all pregnancies.
- Thyroid nodules are common, but only between 5 and 10 percent of these are cancerous.
Learn more about thyroid cancer treatments.