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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@cindyt63

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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Thank you for sharing and caring!

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@dorisena

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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Thanks for your reply. Sounds like you might still be a bit bitter about your late husbands doctor comment. I am a former Mental Health Executive Director and realize all of the ramifications of HIPPA. My son is not in a mental state needing facility care and he does come out to our home and stay a few nights at a time, but he has a nice home and cat that he doesn't want to be away from. My concern was that he needs nutrition to rebound from the radiation/chemo, Wishing you Peace.

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@hopeful33250

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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Thank you for your reply. Yes, the oncologists nurse told him to continue drinking Boost Plus and Carnation Instant Breakfast.

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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 understand that as a parent, you want to help. The relationship of children and parents regarding medical visits can be complicated, and I say this with kindness. Your son was a powerless child, and his experience of medical visits and how they were handled may be entirely different from your view as a parent. Some kids have very real fears and sometimes parents don't address these with their young children, and medical personnel can be indifferent to a child's feelings. When we grow up, we still carry some of that thinking into adulthood. If you could trade places and go back in time, how do you imagine that he would think and feel about these issues?

I can speak from my own experience here. I was afraid of doctors and dentists and I didn't get emotional support from my parents as a child. My mom would tell me it wouldn't be so bad, but it was, and I began a pattern of passing out from fear. After an appointment, my mom would ask me if I felt silly about being afraid, just minimizing my feelings. So I grew up worried about the next time I would have to face something painful.

As an adult, I told my mom when I needed carpal tunnel surgery, and she got a big smile on her face which bothered me since she had teased me about fear when I was young, so I stopped telling her about my medical issues. Coming to terms with all of this is part of what I did when I had to face my fears of major surgery for a spine injury. My mom is 90 now, and I have to advocate for her medical needs and intervene when she isn't taking care of herself properly or when she forgets what she needs to do. My parents wanted me to become a doctor, and I had an interest in biology, so I earned a biology degree, but I decided against applying to medical school. I had always tried to please my parents, but this was their career choice that would recall all my childhood fears, and at the young age when those decisions are made, I knew that I couldn't handle trauma. I didn't know how to get past that even though I had an interest in medicine, and didn't know how to find help in dealing with fear.

It was important to me to be able to make my own decisions independent from my parents. I learned my greatest lesson when I had to advocate for myself even though I was afraid regarding my spine issues. For 2 years, I visited 5 different spine surgeons, and none would help me, and I just got worse. I was loosing the ability to control my arms and loosing muscle because of spinal cord compression and I faced a choice of having surgery or a life of disability without it. All 5 surgeons missed connecting my unusual symptoms to my spine problem and some suggested other problems as a potential cause of my neurological deficits and all 5 declined surgical help. But my biology background served me well when I found medical literature with spine cases similar to my own and contacted Mayo, so I knew what the doctors had missed. I had surgery 3 years ago. I did face my fears and defeat them and having done this not only gave me a great physical recovery, but also a new freedom in living without fear.

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@baz10

Thanks for your reply. Sounds like you might still be a bit bitter about your late husbands doctor comment. I am a former Mental Health Executive Director and realize all of the ramifications of HIPPA. My son is not in a mental state needing facility care and he does come out to our home and stay a few nights at a time, but he has a nice home and cat that he doesn't want to be away from. My concern was that he needs nutrition to rebound from the radiation/chemo, Wishing you Peace.

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I am so glad you are in a position to understand your son's needs and how to achieve them. I hope he is willing to cooperate with your concerns for his health and accept some help with his care. I am not angry with doctors, but regret terribly that I could never get past my husband's stubbornness and refusal to cooperate in getting the necessary treatment he needed. I now realize that I lived with it for 50 years and recognized that he had dementia for at least fifteen years and nearly lost the family business before his death. We are financially recovered now but I managed to stick to my marriage vows and not leave an impossible situation even though professional counselors advised I do so. I don't blame the doctor for his comment. My son finally admitted his father wrote on his admittance paper that he was married but living separately, which was a lie. Long story. I am hoping for the best for you. Dorisena

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@hopeful33250

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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@hopeful3350 If you cut the chicken up small, and it has been cooked well, it does go down very easily in the creamy gravy. I have a recipe for cooking chicken for salads that leaves the chicken very tender. It was not what my mother did but I do remember that I could eat that with no problems.
Now that I am thinking of that chicken I am craving it — a real "comfort food".
JK

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i have various nodules but one grew from 1.9mm to 2.1cm and i am having a FNA on March 16 and my thyroid hurts, hope it is nothing bad

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@khali

i have various nodules but one grew from 1.9mm to 2.1cm and i am having a FNA on March 16 and my thyroid hurts, hope it is nothing bad

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@khali As the last post I urge you to see your endocrinologist

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@khali

i have various nodules but one grew from 1.9mm to 2.1cm and i am having a FNA on March 16 and my thyroid hurts, hope it is nothing bad

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@khali I have thyroid nodules that are from Hashimoto's Thyroiditis which is an autoimmune condition. Mine have actually gotten smaller and my thyroid function improved after getting my silver dental amalgam fillings removed. I take less thyroid medicine now, and what I take is natural desiccated pig thyroid. it has all the components needed which are not in the synthetic medications. Some patients cannot convert the components properly and do better on dried pig thyroid hormones. Usually Hashimoto's causes multiple nodules per my doctor. I had a needle biopsy and it turned out fine.

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@jenniferhunter

@khali I have thyroid nodules that are from Hashimoto's Thyroiditis which is an autoimmune condition. Mine have actually gotten smaller and my thyroid function improved after getting my silver dental amalgam fillings removed. I take less thyroid medicine now, and what I take is natural desiccated pig thyroid. it has all the components needed which are not in the synthetic medications. Some patients cannot convert the components properly and do better on dried pig thyroid hormones. Usually Hashimoto's causes multiple nodules per my doctor. I had a needle biopsy and it turned out fine.

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I haven't been here for a while, I guess I was just waiting on my thyroid tests, etc. I am interested in your comment above because I wonder if my teeth work have anything to do with my enlarged nodules on my thyroid. Maybe it's a good time to have all my teeth removed and get implants. I am 77 years old. Nodules on my thyroid have grown larger lately and one in particular, near a portion of my teeth that seems to have had problems is really large and swollen. The doctor wants to take an aspiration of it because it has increased in size, and I'm not scared, but her report said it appears suspicious insofar as cancer is concerned. I have a question regarding this, but I'll leave this comment here now.

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@cindiwass

I haven't been here for a while, I guess I was just waiting on my thyroid tests, etc. I am interested in your comment above because I wonder if my teeth work have anything to do with my enlarged nodules on my thyroid. Maybe it's a good time to have all my teeth removed and get implants. I am 77 years old. Nodules on my thyroid have grown larger lately and one in particular, near a portion of my teeth that seems to have had problems is really large and swollen. The doctor wants to take an aspiration of it because it has increased in size, and I'm not scared, but her report said it appears suspicious insofar as cancer is concerned. I have a question regarding this, but I'll leave this comment here now.

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@cindiwass Thyroid function with Hashimoto's is variable depending on how far it has progressed. I have had mine be low, so I needed thyroid meds as well as too high, which made my meds be an overdose and I stopped them for 3 months. So I pay attention and every now and then, the dose needs to be adjusted. I think I am on the low end now and in need of more meds. My current doctor says my thyroid is spent, and the measurements of antibodies against my thyroid have dropped enough that he said it shows I am borderline for Hashimoto's now, and those numbers used to be off the charts years ago.

The dental work you mentioned has to do with silver amalgam fillings that contain mercury and when those are old and breaking down, they can release mercury which is damaging to the thyroid. My functional medicine doctor told me that, and likely other doctors might not recognize a connection. It took my thyroid a long time to "recover" (maybe 10 years) after the filings were removed and replaced with bio-compatible resins. I have had an aspiration biopsy of my thyroid which isn't too bad. They inject anesthetic which will feel like a quick bee sting, and you'll feel pressure when they put the needle into the thyroid which is done with image guidance by a radiologist. They have to make a smear on a slide and check it to make sure they got thyroid cells and not connective tissue before you can leave, but you leave with just a bandaid.

I can also relate my experience with dental implants which has nothing to do with my thyroid. I broke my front teeth when I was 9, and have had numerous dental restorations trying to save the teeth, but eventually root canals failed sending infection and toxic materials into my jaw bone. I didn't realize how much that was affecting my health until the teeth were extracted and my asthma improved immediately which surprised me. Evidently, the problem was creating enough inflammation to provoke my asthma adding to the burden of environmental and food allergies.

Dental implants can have adverse effects too if you are allergic to metals. They use titanium, but it is an alloy and has some other metals mixed in which can cause reactions. I know someone who's spouse had to have implants removed from a bad reaction to the titanium metal. She had been on prednisone trying to control it. They then put in Zirconium implants and those worked fine and resolved the inflammatory reaction. The non-metal zirconium implants that are bio-compatible are the ones that I got. The jaw bone will grow to those and interlock. You don't always know if materials will be acceptable to your body because you can have a reaction months after the material is placed in your body. There are tests for compatibility, but that only tells you the current condition. It takes a lot to recover after dental extractions, and I had 2 weeks of lots of pain before things started to get better, and it was probably a month before my mouth was healed and tender. Then 6 months later, another surgery to place the implants into the healed bone, and another 6 months healing before a dental lab can make a crown or bridge to attach to the implant. It's all custom work and very expensive, about $5000 per tooth when you add up fees for the surgeon and the dentist. If you need a bridge, it may be able to be done secured to one implant at each end which saves the cost of having an implant for each tooth. The skill of the oral surgeon is critical to the success of dental implants, and it also depends on the structure of the patient's jaw bone and how much bone they have. They have to be able to place the implant solidly in bone at an angle that would allow a tooth to be built on it that would match with the bite of the other teeth. When you get to the stage of creating impressions for the dental lab, the dentist attaches sticks to the implants which serve to leave a space for the screw in connections when the lab creates the teeth.

I know about the lab process too because I had worked in the dental lab that is making my teeth years ago doing porcelain work for crowns. Now, a computer controlled machine carves the teeth out of a block of Zirconium, and color variations are applied by paintbrush and it is heated in an oven to set the glaze. It's just a coincidence that I worked in the very lab my dentist uses, and they remembered me. I visited the lab so they could get a good color match.

There are a lot of commercials pushing full mouth restorations with dental implants, and theses are really just dentures anchored with a set of implants, not an implant for every tooth, but enough to anchor the plate. I know from experience that getting 4 teeth replaced was very involved and a lot to heal from. The success of the implant itself depends on bone quality to hold it in place, and if a surgeon removes a tooth and puts an implant right into the socket at the same appointment, it is going to have to be able to grow bone to it to hold it in place right away. That is where I question these procedures that push a quicker solution. Patients really need to ask questions and get other opinions from trusted dentists. I had bone grafts placed into the empty sockets after extraction that were allowed to heal and fill in for 6 months, and when that was solid, a hole was drilled and the implant placed into the new "socket", and allowed to grow and heal 6 more months. Only after that, are the final teeth created which are teeth only, and not denture plates that have both fake teeth and gums. My implants are place high enough into the upper jaw that my gums will naturally cover the teeth.

So if we circle back to the thyroid discussion, you can not draw a conclusion that replacing all your teeth would improve your thyroid function. It may or it may not, and your doctor isn't going to advise you on that. It is a lot of pain and healing to go through which is a very big step. It is the functional medicine doctors (or environmental medicine docs) that pay attention to these kinds of issues. Your doctor has to make a diagnosis first of what the thyroid nodules are. If those are cancerous, you'll take a different path. That is the most important information that you need right now. If you do decide to replace teeth, those decisions need to be based on dental issues. Having silver amalgam fillings replaced with safer materials made a big difference for me, and that is not a drastic change. Chosing extraction and dental implants was a hard decision. I tried to save my tooth when a root canal failed, and thinking this was unusual, I had surgery to save the tooth and clean out the infection, and replace bone lost to the infection. When the tooth next to it developed the same problem a couple years later, I realized that it was just a matter of time until the other 2 teeth with root canals would fail because they all were very old, and I didn't want to keep spending a lot to try to save failing teeth. At that point, it made sense to remove all 4 which would save money and time in the future, and it would allow the replacements of all 4 to match in doing them all at the same time. My health improved a lot after the bad teeth were removed. Root canals contain gutta percha material which has cadmium in it which is a heavy metal used to plug an infected tooth. Heavy metals are toxic. I hope that information helps

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@contentandwell

@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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I didn't know that about accutane. Because of the way things are now, as I've learned, I am more than cautious when it comes to following doctor's advice.

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