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My scan shows I have thyroid nodules. Should I be worried?

At age 30 it is estimated around 30% of women will have a nodule. By age 70, approximately 70% of women will have at least one. Photo: Pexels

(Brooke Nickel, Anna Story/ The Conversation) — The thyroid is a gland located at the base of the neck. It makes thyroid hormones, which control the way the body uses energy.

A thyroid nodule is a solid or fluid-filled lump found within the thyroid. The majority of thyroid nodules are small, can’t be felt by touch and do not cause symptoms. They are caused by an overgrowth of cells in the thyroid gland. In a few people, the nodules grow and cause symptoms such as pressure, difficulty swallowing or breathing.

Thyroid nodules are very common, with more than half of people scanned show small nodules.

So, they might never cause problems are only discovered incidentally. But when should you follow up and get treatment?

Nodules tend to be more commonly detected in women, at three times the rate seen in men. The incidence also increases with age. (…)