I have a very large nodule on my thyroid, does it have to mean cancer?

Posted by cindiwass @cindiwass, Nov 4, 2019

A couple of years ago it was found that I have a very large nodule on one side of my thyroid, and another smaller one on the other side. I did not have a FNA although the clinic wanted me to. (A hospital clinic.) I resisted. But now the time has come for me to go further. I am not feeling particularly sick, but with such a large nodule (almost 2 inches), I realize it could be cancer or something else and I am coming to terms with that. I guess they will want to do a FNA, but I know that is not always a correct indicator of cancer. The endocrinologist wants to do a radioscan of my nearby glands before the FNA. I guess she wants to see if I have nodules elsewhere nearby.
I have a couple of questions, but let’s say they don’t find cancer cells if they give me a FNA. Why would a nodule grow so large if it is benign? I am 75.

@cindiwass Hashimoto's thyroiditis causes thyroid nodules. I have that and have had a needle biopsy to rule out cancer. That is done in an interventional radiology lab after they inject a painkiller. I have multiple nodules and over a few years, they have reduced in size after I began taking natural desiccated pig thyroid hormones. It's an easy test. I see a functional medicine doctor who manages my thyroid and he says that some patients cannot convert the components in the synthetic thyroid medication. The natural version has all of them present while the synthetic does not. Here is some information about thyroid nodules.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/thyroid-nodules/symptoms-causes/syc-20355262

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First of all, at this age, how much longer do you wish to live? It sounds like a harsh question, but you seem to be a practical person. My understanding of the word "benign" is that it could also mean "precancerous" because a growth is a DNA change, and a growth continues to grow and it can change to become cancerous, or not, Get a second opinion and study the information. It is difficult to decide the best steps to take in some cases. We are all different but we support you in your journey and we can relate our experiences. I never had tests, just surgery so I can't recommend anything. Dorisena

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@dorisena

First of all, at this age, how much longer do you wish to live? It sounds like a harsh question, but you seem to be a practical person. My understanding of the word "benign" is that it could also mean "precancerous" because a growth is a DNA change, and a growth continues to grow and it can change to become cancerous, or not, Get a second opinion and study the information. It is difficult to decide the best steps to take in some cases. We are all different but we support you in your journey and we can relate our experiences. I never had tests, just surgery so I can't recommend anything. Dorisena

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I really don't think you asked a harsh question, I've been going over that myself. I'd like to keep living, but I can't believe I reached this age anyway. So it's a good question. Do I take the treatment and hope I keep living longer than if I didn't take the treatment, or do I not take the treatment. I guess the first step would be to take a fine needle aspiration. If that comes up with cancer cells, then I know it should come out. As it was explained to me, if that comes up w/cancer cells, they will take the whole thyroid out. (oh, well…)

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@jenniferhunter

@cindiwass Hashimoto's thyroiditis causes thyroid nodules. I have that and have had a needle biopsy to rule out cancer. That is done in an interventional radiology lab after they inject a painkiller. I have multiple nodules and over a few years, they have reduced in size after I began taking natural desiccated pig thyroid hormones. It's an easy test. I see a functional medicine doctor who manages my thyroid and he says that some patients cannot convert the components in the synthetic thyroid medication. The natural version has all of them present while the synthetic does not. Here is some information about thyroid nodules.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/thyroid-nodules/symptoms-causes/syc-20355262

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Thank you for your reply. It is helpful.

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@cindiwass

I really don't think you asked a harsh question, I've been going over that myself. I'd like to keep living, but I can't believe I reached this age anyway. So it's a good question. Do I take the treatment and hope I keep living longer than if I didn't take the treatment, or do I not take the treatment. I guess the first step would be to take a fine needle aspiration. If that comes up with cancer cells, then I know it should come out. As it was explained to me, if that comes up w/cancer cells, they will take the whole thyroid out. (oh, well…)

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I think you are thinking well. I am living pretty well without my thyroid but I'll admit it is not perfect. Nothing in my body is working perfectly. As you say, "oh, well". My mind is still keeping me going. I played three pieces at church yesterday. Dorisena

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@dorisena

I think you are thinking well. I am living pretty well without my thyroid but I'll admit it is not perfect. Nothing in my body is working perfectly. As you say, "oh, well". My mind is still keeping me going. I played three pieces at church yesterday. Dorisena

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This conversation is making me wonder why I wasn't tested for cancer before thyroid surgery eight years ago. How did they decide it was cancer in my case, or did they just assume? I had breast cancer lumpectomy six years before the thyroid surgery. Then I had radiation which burned my skin but they continued to finish the 42 radiation treatments. Did the radiation cause the thyroid growths? Of course, they would never admit that, because when I studied the brain tumor treatments I learned that some patients had terrible brain relapses six months after brain radiation and the doctors said the radiation didn't cause the relapses. I know they are trying to save our lives, but it seems every treatment is a risk of some sort. I have the protective cover put on my neck when I have x-rays at the dentist. They give me antibiotics when they clean my teeth because of my knee replacement surgeries. I have been told not to eat soy because of a test I had. Now I am reading about foods that are considered anti-cancer foods. It is quite a job keeping up with the medical science. Dorisena

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@cindiwass If you are well and of sound mind then you should not ever consider yourself to be too old. I and my siblings have all outlived the ages at which my parents passed away. Personally, I do not want to ever have to be totally dependent on others but I hope to live as long as I can be sound and live life well. I go to a water aerobics class and some of the people there are in their mid-80s and doing great.
I will be looking forward to hearing how the results of the tests you will be having.
JK

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@dorisena

I think you are thinking well. I am living pretty well without my thyroid but I'll admit it is not perfect. Nothing in my body is working perfectly. As you say, "oh, well". My mind is still keeping me going. I played three pieces at church yesterday. Dorisena

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Glad to hear your mind is still going. So is mine, and honestly, it gets better with age. But I know despite all mankind's efforts, the cure is in God's hands.

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@contentandwell

@cindiwass If you are well and of sound mind then you should not ever consider yourself to be too old. I and my siblings have all outlived the ages at which my parents passed away. Personally, I do not want to ever have to be totally dependent on others but I hope to live as long as I can be sound and live life well. I go to a water aerobics class and some of the people there are in their mid-80s and doing great.
I will be looking forward to hearing how the results of the tests you will be having.
JK

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Thank you. I tend to be very cautious (in my old age) about medical treatments. I, too, sometimes go to a water aerobics class, I am happy there is one in my area. Just to let you know, where I was a teenager my mother sent me to a dermatologist because I had a little bit (not a lot) of acne. And he gave me that x-ray treatment, rotating an x-ray instrument all over my face. I had several treatments. I learned lately that is a indicator for greater chance of thyroid cancer later on. I also had many, many x-rays without protection for my teeth. Years ago they didn't use protective covering when taking x-rays of teeth. I will certainly let you know what the next doctor tells me. I will most likely allow the US exam for the nearby glands to be given to me, but I just wonder how dangerous those US scans are. I've had two already on my thyroid, and one iodine pill uptake.

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@dorisena

This conversation is making me wonder why I wasn't tested for cancer before thyroid surgery eight years ago. How did they decide it was cancer in my case, or did they just assume? I had breast cancer lumpectomy six years before the thyroid surgery. Then I had radiation which burned my skin but they continued to finish the 42 radiation treatments. Did the radiation cause the thyroid growths? Of course, they would never admit that, because when I studied the brain tumor treatments I learned that some patients had terrible brain relapses six months after brain radiation and the doctors said the radiation didn't cause the relapses. I know they are trying to save our lives, but it seems every treatment is a risk of some sort. I have the protective cover put on my neck when I have x-rays at the dentist. They give me antibiotics when they clean my teeth because of my knee replacement surgeries. I have been told not to eat soy because of a test I had. Now I am reading about foods that are considered anti-cancer foods. It is quite a job keeping up with the medical science. Dorisena

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@dorisena — You didn't have a fine needle biopsy of your thyroid nodules? Did they find cancer cells after they removed your thyroid anyway?
I do agree that it's a job keeping up with science in any case. Sounds like, though, you're doing great. My friend is a former nurse and she is more up on the treatments for her ailments than I am. I listen to Dr. Radio on SiriusXM and it's a bit frustrating when you hear one doctor tell a person who calls in with a question that they need to find a good, experienced doctor. So you gotta wonder who's good when you go to a doctor.
I used to think a doctor is a doctor. I used to think doctors knew everything. Really. But I'm glad to hear you're doing ok with your thyroid medication.
From what I understand, doctors will hardly if ever admit in general a mistake. I like my family practitioner, but I told her recently that I don't like doctors. She is very nice, really. Her reply was: "I detected that." 🙂 When I told her I was afraid to find out I if I have cancer, she said, "Why"? And I had no good answer, and she just said, "Well, it's up to you what you want to do."

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@cindiwass

Thank you. I tend to be very cautious (in my old age) about medical treatments. I, too, sometimes go to a water aerobics class, I am happy there is one in my area. Just to let you know, where I was a teenager my mother sent me to a dermatologist because I had a little bit (not a lot) of acne. And he gave me that x-ray treatment, rotating an x-ray instrument all over my face. I had several treatments. I learned lately that is a indicator for greater chance of thyroid cancer later on. I also had many, many x-rays without protection for my teeth. Years ago they didn't use protective covering when taking x-rays of teeth. I will certainly let you know what the next doctor tells me. I will most likely allow the US exam for the nearby glands to be given to me, but I just wonder how dangerous those US scans are. I've had two already on my thyroid, and one iodine pill uptake.

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@cindiwass I think we all need to be cautious about medical treatments, particularly until they have been around long enough to show that they do not have long-lasting ill effects.
I never heard of an x-ray treatment for acne but both my son and daughter were on Accutane, my daughter for two or three rounds of it so when I later discovered the psychological side-effects it upset me greatly. It is no longer available in this country.
JK

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@cindiwass

Thank you. I tend to be very cautious (in my old age) about medical treatments. I, too, sometimes go to a water aerobics class, I am happy there is one in my area. Just to let you know, where I was a teenager my mother sent me to a dermatologist because I had a little bit (not a lot) of acne. And he gave me that x-ray treatment, rotating an x-ray instrument all over my face. I had several treatments. I learned lately that is a indicator for greater chance of thyroid cancer later on. I also had many, many x-rays without protection for my teeth. Years ago they didn't use protective covering when taking x-rays of teeth. I will certainly let you know what the next doctor tells me. I will most likely allow the US exam for the nearby glands to be given to me, but I just wonder how dangerous those US scans are. I've had two already on my thyroid, and one iodine pill uptake.

Jump to this post

From what I understand, @cindiwass, ultrasounds use non-ionizing radiation. Whereas most x-rays and other tests use ionizing radiation. Here is some information about ultrasounds from the FDA website:
https://www.fda.gov/radiation-emitting-products/medical-imaging/ultrasound-imaging#benefitsrisks
Ultrasounds are used on pregnant women to check on the status of the unborn baby.

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@cindiwass

Thank you for your reply. It is helpful.

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@cindiwass You're welcome, Cindy. I think 75 is young. I'm not there yet, but I've decided to live to be at least 100 and there is a lot more that I need to do and experience in my lifetime. You can change you health by focusing on positive choices and letting go of beliefs that don't serve your goals. I've heard it said that your biography becomes your biology, which means that you can make something happen if you believe it and think about it. You have the choice in what you believe and how that will influence your health and well being. We all have challenges from time to time, but we can make the most of them, and make the best educated choices that we can. Sometimes we expect the worst, and find out what we had feared turned out to be not so bad after all.

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@jenniferhunter

@cindiwass You're welcome, Cindy. I think 75 is young. I'm not there yet, but I've decided to live to be at least 100 and there is a lot more that I need to do and experience in my lifetime. You can change you health by focusing on positive choices and letting go of beliefs that don't serve your goals. I've heard it said that your biography becomes your biology, which means that you can make something happen if you believe it and think about it. You have the choice in what you believe and how that will influence your health and well being. We all have challenges from time to time, but we can make the most of them, and make the best educated choices that we can. Sometimes we expect the worst, and find out what we had feared turned out to be not so bad after all.

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Hi, Jennifer, it is interesting that certainly while moments of sadness are regularly around me, I have become better and happier as I age. In fact, I think I am becoming more intelligent (if that's possible*), as I think about things. I'm not too interested in Einstein's Theory of Relativity, or how he figured that out, but at this point in my life if I wanted to learn more about it, I would try to. 🙂
Thank you. Life is a gift and I am thankfully coping as best I can. Thanks for your post.
*By becoming "more intelligent," I mean that instead of becoming duller as some consider old age to happen, I have become more satisfied and capable of looking at a problem. Not speaking of my I.Q. 🙂

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@hopeful33250

From what I understand, @cindiwass, ultrasounds use non-ionizing radiation. Whereas most x-rays and other tests use ionizing radiation. Here is some information about ultrasounds from the FDA website:
https://www.fda.gov/radiation-emitting-products/medical-imaging/ultrasound-imaging#benefitsrisks
Ultrasounds are used on pregnant women to check on the status of the unborn baby.

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Thanks, that makes me feel better. 🙂

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