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.

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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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@cindywass In my case, the answer to your original question is No, it does not have to mean cancer. But it is a good idea, and not too complicated, to get it checked out. I had ultrasound, then a fine needle biopsy (which I barely felt). Benign. Advised to return in 12 months. Hope this helps.

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I also have a rather large nodule on my right thyroid. My surgeon found it while doing an ultrasound for the diseased parathyroid on the left side. He immediately did a biopsy because of the size. He was certain it was cancerous. The results were that it is benign and as long as it is not causing any problems it will stay where it is. I had surgery to remove the diseased parathyroid which has helped with many issues I was having. I am 64 and have numerous other health issues so I don't worry about the things that aren't causing me problems.

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Our son, who is 54 years of age, unmarried and lives alone, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in May of this year, 2019 and underwent 33 radiation treatments and 5 chemo treatments. Pet scan in September showed no cells, and he will have another Pet scan in December. He didn't tell anyone except a "friend" and she didn't tell anyone so my son went through all of his treatments ALONE even driving himself to all of them. We only found out about it in July the day he finished his last radiation treatment. I feel really bad that he had to go through this alone, and when his appetite started going away, he wasn't eating anything and has lost over 30 pounds and he was already slim. He drinks Boost and instant breakfast but still cannot tolerate solid foods due to the radiation burns in his mouth and throat. He is very weak and basically sits most of the day. Is there anyone who can recommend anything that he might be able to eat? Normally we are on his medical chart, but this time we can't even discuss his situation with his medical team due to the fact that he didn't have anyone for an emergency contact. His theory was that if he told us about the diagnosis, I would check out the doctors that he would be going to for his treatments and would look for the best that I could find. He is correct about that, isn't that what parents do, no matter how old their "kids" get? Thanks for any advice given.

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@baz10

Our son, who is 54 years of age, unmarried and lives alone, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in May of this year, 2019 and underwent 33 radiation treatments and 5 chemo treatments. Pet scan in September showed no cells, and he will have another Pet scan in December. He didn't tell anyone except a "friend" and she didn't tell anyone so my son went through all of his treatments ALONE even driving himself to all of them. We only found out about it in July the day he finished his last radiation treatment. I feel really bad that he had to go through this alone, and when his appetite started going away, he wasn't eating anything and has lost over 30 pounds and he was already slim. He drinks Boost and instant breakfast but still cannot tolerate solid foods due to the radiation burns in his mouth and throat. He is very weak and basically sits most of the day. Is there anyone who can recommend anything that he might be able to eat? Normally we are on his medical chart, but this time we can't even discuss his situation with his medical team due to the fact that he didn't have anyone for an emergency contact. His theory was that if he told us about the diagnosis, I would check out the doctors that he would be going to for his treatments and would look for the best that I could find. He is correct about that, isn't that what parents do, no matter how old their "kids" get? Thanks for any advice given.

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Hello @baz10,

I am sorry to hear of your son's health problems and difficulty getting nutrition and maintaining his weight. I'm wondering if the radiologist has any suggestions.

Has he consulted with a dietician who could help him with meal planning?

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@baz10

Our son, who is 54 years of age, unmarried and lives alone, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in May of this year, 2019 and underwent 33 radiation treatments and 5 chemo treatments. Pet scan in September showed no cells, and he will have another Pet scan in December. He didn't tell anyone except a "friend" and she didn't tell anyone so my son went through all of his treatments ALONE even driving himself to all of them. We only found out about it in July the day he finished his last radiation treatment. I feel really bad that he had to go through this alone, and when his appetite started going away, he wasn't eating anything and has lost over 30 pounds and he was already slim. He drinks Boost and instant breakfast but still cannot tolerate solid foods due to the radiation burns in his mouth and throat. He is very weak and basically sits most of the day. Is there anyone who can recommend anything that he might be able to eat? Normally we are on his medical chart, but this time we can't even discuss his situation with his medical team due to the fact that he didn't have anyone for an emergency contact. His theory was that if he told us about the diagnosis, I would check out the doctors that he would be going to for his treatments and would look for the best that I could find. He is correct about that, isn't that what parents do, no matter how old their "kids" get? Thanks for any advice given.

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Read the HIPPA law. It says that a patient doesn't have to sign so a relative or someone else can access to his records and seek help. My husband did that to me and only signed when he went into the hospital the last time where he died seven weeks later. Without that signed paper, you have no legal right to try to help your son. He has a legal right to refuse help. I am guessing, based on my radiation treatments for breast cancer which burned me, that his thyroid many never function well or at all in the future, so look for him to need thyroid pills the rest of his life if he is not on them already. Based on my experiences, there is little you can do to help your son unless you want to try to go to court and get a guardianship or something. Good luck with that. Sorry to sound so cruel, but I have been in this situation and the doctors wouldn't give me access to his condition and care needs. But they sent him home for me to care for him.
One doctor told me my husband didn't have a wife. He died that year in hospice. Your son doesn't want help. You could try to get mental health treatment but he will have to want to go to treatment. Sorry, I can't do more to help. You could try sending a special food you purchase and have delivered to the house with a Merry Christmas note and see if that sparks some cooperation. He can't really take care of himself and your only option is to try to get him committed to a facility but if he chooses to walk away, he can do it. So sorry.

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@baz10

Our son, who is 54 years of age, unmarried and lives alone, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in May of this year, 2019 and underwent 33 radiation treatments and 5 chemo treatments. Pet scan in September showed no cells, and he will have another Pet scan in December. He didn't tell anyone except a "friend" and she didn't tell anyone so my son went through all of his treatments ALONE even driving himself to all of them. We only found out about it in July the day he finished his last radiation treatment. I feel really bad that he had to go through this alone, and when his appetite started going away, he wasn't eating anything and has lost over 30 pounds and he was already slim. He drinks Boost and instant breakfast but still cannot tolerate solid foods due to the radiation burns in his mouth and throat. He is very weak and basically sits most of the day. Is there anyone who can recommend anything that he might be able to eat? Normally we are on his medical chart, but this time we can't even discuss his situation with his medical team due to the fact that he didn't have anyone for an emergency contact. His theory was that if he told us about the diagnosis, I would check out the doctors that he would be going to for his treatments and would look for the best that I could find. He is correct about that, isn't that what parents do, no matter how old their "kids" get? Thanks for any advice given.

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So sorry to hear about your son's ordeal. I have a sister who has gone through radiation and chemo or two different cancer diagnoses this year. The first one she drove herself to and from the treatments and then went to work or went home depending on the time of day. She refused all help from me but allowed a 'friend' to assist her. For the second cancer she was in much more pain and lost her appetite. She drank Boost and lots of water and juice. Her doctors were not concerned as this is normal with chemo and radiation. The second time she had a port implanted which was used for the chemo. She was fitted with a bag that had the chemo in it and she wore this bag 24/7 for five days. She would get it removed for the weekend and then on Monday start again. She did this for three weeks on top of 30 plus radiation treatments. Still she refused all help from me.

I know it is hard but you must ease off on your son. He is 54 years old and capable of making his own decisions. I can imagine his throat is extremely sore and will be for a while. Let him know you are there if he needs you but don't nag him. Be thankful that the Pet scan showed no cells. It sounds like he knew you to a T. Let him tell you in his time and his way about his cancer and treatments. He sounds like a determined person. My oldest son is 41, unmarried and lives three hours away. I worry about him but don't let him know it. If he needs me, he will let me know which he has done more than once.

My mother had breast cancer in her thirties and then in her late 60's she got kidney cancer. She refused any and all help with getting to and from treatments and after care. She even went so far as to cancel her plans to be at my house for Thanksgiving that year without telling me why even though she knew she had the cancer. She and I always had a very strained relationship and by canceling at the last minute just compounded my feelings of being the red headed step child.

I wish your son the best. He will recover as his body recovers. I'm sure he will talk with his doctors if he has any concerns.

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@baz10

Our son, who is 54 years of age, unmarried and lives alone, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in May of this year, 2019 and underwent 33 radiation treatments and 5 chemo treatments. Pet scan in September showed no cells, and he will have another Pet scan in December. He didn't tell anyone except a "friend" and she didn't tell anyone so my son went through all of his treatments ALONE even driving himself to all of them. We only found out about it in July the day he finished his last radiation treatment. I feel really bad that he had to go through this alone, and when his appetite started going away, he wasn't eating anything and has lost over 30 pounds and he was already slim. He drinks Boost and instant breakfast but still cannot tolerate solid foods due to the radiation burns in his mouth and throat. He is very weak and basically sits most of the day. Is there anyone who can recommend anything that he might be able to eat? Normally we are on his medical chart, but this time we can't even discuss his situation with his medical team due to the fact that he didn't have anyone for an emergency contact. His theory was that if he told us about the diagnosis, I would check out the doctors that he would be going to for his treatments and would look for the best that I could find. He is correct about that, isn't that what parents do, no matter how old their "kids" get? Thanks for any advice given.

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@baz10 I can imagine how difficult this must be for you, the mother. I know it would be for me. Our sons are certainly old enough to make these decisions though and you have to respect that.

As @hopeful33250 said, maybe a dietician could help with meal suggestions of things that may go down easily. It sounds as if you don’t live far from him. Would he allow you to bring some soft but tempting dinners? I was sick when I was in my 20s and could only hold down soft foods. My mother made chicken in a white chicken gravy on top of mashed potatoes a lot for me, egg custard, and puddings. The chicken was basically poached so fairly soft too.

I hope your son will be feel better soon and that he will be able to eat more regularly. Please let us know how he is doing.
JK

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@contentandwell

@baz10 I can imagine how difficult this must be for you, the mother. I know it would be for me. Our sons are certainly old enough to make these decisions though and you have to respect that.

As @hopeful33250 said, maybe a dietician could help with meal suggestions of things that may go down easily. It sounds as if you don’t live far from him. Would he allow you to bring some soft but tempting dinners? I was sick when I was in my 20s and could only hold down soft foods. My mother made chicken in a white chicken gravy on top of mashed potatoes a lot for me, egg custard, and puddings. The chicken was basically poached so fairly soft too.

I hope your son will be feel better soon and that he will be able to eat more regularly. Please let us know how he is doing.
JK

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The foods you mentioned, egg custards, puddings are excellent suggestions, @contentandwell. (The chicken might be difficult going down the throat.) I've had some procedures that affected my ability to swallow and I have found baby foods work quite well. They aren't very tasty, but they do have nutrition and they are certainly soft.

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When the doctor put me on a liquid diet years ago to stop the pain from my bad gall bladder, he said to drink clam juice, among other drinks. It went down pretty well and helped with my hunger. There was protein available in it. I was shocked that I could tolerate all liquids for a week, and then it was eggs, applesauce and plain bread. It didn't save my gall bladder, but I got back to regular food. I hope this helps. Dorisena

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