What is the Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is located at the lower front of the neck, just above the trachea. The thyroid gland produces hormones that help control the body’s metabolism (weight), heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and organ functions.
Should everyone be screened for Thyroid Cancer?
Thyroid screening can be done by a doctor’s physical neck exam or by ultrasound of the thyroid. What are the pros and cons?
What Is A Goiter?
A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland due to abnormal growth. There are many possible causes for goiters, including iodine deficiency, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves’ disease, genetic defects, injury or infection in the thyroid, tumors, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism. Goiters often occur when the pituitary gland senses that the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormones and attempts to solve this problem by signaling a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). This attempt to stimulate the thyroid gland actually causes abnormal growth, which leads to a goiter. In the case of Graves’ disease, the body’s immune system produces a protein called a thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) that causes a goiter and hyperthyroidism. Treatments for goiters vary for each individual case depending upon the cause. After treatment, the goiter may disappear entirely or simply reduce in size depending upon the cause of the goiter and treatment.
For more information about goiters, visit: American Thyroid Association – Goiter
I highly recommend that patients with thyroid cancer or patients about to undergo thyroid surgery visit the American Thyroid Association website. It is a great place to learn about the function of the thyroid gland, causes and types of thyroid cancer and problems, treatment options, and long-term lifestyle changes. This website can easily answer many of the questions that you may have relating to the thyroid gland.