Thyroid Gland

Thyroid Gland


The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is normally located in the lower front of the neck. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormones help the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should.




The term “goiter” simply refers to the abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland.

It is important to know that the presence of a goiter does not necessarily mean that the thyroid gland is malfunctioning. A goiter can occur in a gland that is producing too much hormone (hyperthyroidism), too little hormone (hypothyroidism), or the correct amount of hormone (euthyroidism).

A goiter indicates there is a condition present which is causing the thyroid to grow abnormally.



Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland can’t make enough thyroid hormone to keep the body running normally.

People are hypothyroid if they have too little thyroid hormone in the blood.



The term hyperthyroidism refers to any condition in which there is too much thyroid hormone produced in the body.

In other words, the thyroid gland is overactive.

Another term that you might hear for this problem is thyrotoxicosis, which refers to high thyroid hormone levels in the blood stream, irrespective of their source.

Thyroid Nodules


The term thyroid nodule refers to an abnormal growth of thyroid cells that forms a lump within the thyroid gland.

Although the vast majority of thyroid nodules are benign (noncancerous), a small proportion of thyroid nodules do contain thyroid cancer.

In order to diagnose and treat thyroid cancer at the earliest stage, most thyroid nodules need some type of evaluation.

Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer is relatively uncommon compared to other cancers.

Thyroid cancer is usually very treatable and is often cured with surgery (see Thyroid Surgery) and, if indicated, radioactive iodine.

Even when thyroid cancer is more advanced, effective treatment is available for the most common forms of thyroid cancer.

Even though the diagnosis of cancer is terrifying, the prognosis for most patients with papillary and follicular thyroid cancer is usually excellent.

Thyroid Surgery


Your doctor may recommend that you consider thyroid surgery for 4 main reasons:

  • You have a nodule that might be thyroid cancer.
  • You have a diagnosis of thyroid cancer.
  • You have a nodule or goiter that is causing local symptoms – compression of the trachea, difficulty swallowing or a visible or unsightly mass.
  • You have a nodule or goiter that is causing symptoms due to the production and release of excess thyroid hormone – either a toxic nodule, a toxic multinodular goiter or Graves’ disease.

The extent of your thyroid surgery should be discussed by you and your Doctor and can generally be classified as a partial thyroidectomy or a total thyroidectomy.


18 November 2019