Thyroid nodule size may determine cancer risk

At this year's International Thyroid Congress, doctors from the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago presented research that found that patients with large thyroid nodules may benefit from surgery, as half of these nodules may be malignant.

Internal Medicine News reports that in a review of 156 patients with nondecisive fine-needle aspirations (FNAs) - potentially cancerous thyroid lumps that are just below the skin - nodule size was a major factor in surgical referral.

"Nodules of this size were associated with a malignancy rate of up to 60 percent," according to Dr Susana Mascarell, lead author of the study.

When an FNA comes back as nondecisive, the clinician must choose between surgery or clinical follow-up as the next step. There are no hard-and-fast rules about which management path to choose, according to Dr Mascarell.

Thyroid nodules - growths of cells in the thyroid gland - are a common clinical problem that occurs most frequently in women and the elderly, the American Cancer Society reports.
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