What is the Thyroid Gland?

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The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is located at the lower front of the neck, just above the trachea. The thyroid gland produces hormones that help control the body's metabolism (weight), heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and organ functions.

Should everyone be screened for Thyroid Cancer?

Thyroid screening can be done by a doctor's physical neck exam or by ultrasound of the thyroid. What are the pros and cons?

What is a Goiter?

A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland due to abnormal growth. There are many possible causes for goiters, including iodine deficiency, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves’ disease, genetic defects, injury or infection in the thyroid, tumors, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism. Goiters often occur when the pituitary gland senses that the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormones and attempts to solve this problem by signaling a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). This attempt to stimulate the thyroid gland actually causes abnormal growth, which leads to a goiter. In the case of Graves’ disease, the body’s immune system produces a protein called a thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) that causes a goiter and hyperthyroidism. Treatments for goiters vary for each individual case depending upon the cause. After treatment, the goiter may disappear entirely or simply reduce in size depending upon the cause of the goiter and treatment.

For more information about goiters, visit: American Thyroid Association - Goiter

Additional Resources

I highly recommend that patients with thyroid cancer or patients about to undergo thyroid surgery visit the American Thyroid Association website. It is a great place to learn about the function of the thyroid gland, causes and types of thyroid cancer and problems, treatment options, and long-term lifestyle changes. This website can easily answer many of the questions that you may have relating to the thyroid gland.

<h3>All About FNA</h3>

All About FNA: An FNA is a common non-surgical, minimally invasive method for evaluating suspicious thyroid nodules. AN FNA allows the physician to collect cells from the thyroid nodule and send them to the lab for further analysis.

<h3>Thyroid Ultrasound</h3>

Thyroid Ultrasound Q & A: Common questions about thyroid ultrasounds are answered.

<h3>Thyroid Scar Treatment</h3>

Thyroid Scar & Wound Care: After thyroid surgery, you will have a scar on your neck from the operation. Though at first this scar may be easily visible, there are simple ways to reduce the redness and visibility of the scar.

<h3>Thyroid I-131 Treatment</h3>

I-131 Treatment: The thyroid gland is the only tissue in the body that uses iodine, which is used to make thyroid hormones. I-131 is a radioactive isotope of iodine that detects and destroys iodine in the body, therefore killing thyroid cells.