About Thyroid NodulesIf you have a thyroid nodule, you probably also have questions. We have answers that can help you decide what to do next, and that may help you avoid surgery.

Thyroid nodules are small growths of extra cells on or within the thyroid gland. Often a nodule is very small (less than a centimeter) and can at times only be felt, not seen. Larger nodules may be visible. They can look like a bump or swelling of the neck. The likelihood of having a nodule increases with age and is more common in women.

Nodules & CancerGood news: only about 1 in 10 nodules are cancerous. However, early diagnosis and treatment of thyroid cancer is important, so you will want to work with your physician to get a diagnosis and determine if any additional steps need to be taken.

Your doctor will likely collect a small tissue sample (called a biopsy) of the nodule to rule out thyroid cancer. Based on the results of the biopsy, you and your doctor will decide if treatment is required.

In some cases, the diagnosis from a thyroid biopsy is “indeterminate,” which means cancer can neither be confirmed nor completely ruled out, even though the sample size and quality was good. In the past, a second biopsy or surgery would have been recommended to determine whether the patient has cancer or not. Now, the Afirma solution may help your doctor get a more complete story without bringing you back in for more needle sticks or surgery.

About Thyroid CancerThyroid cancer is increasing in numbers faster than any other cancer in the United States. Women account for 75% of cases. It strikes at an earlier age than most cancers, with nearly 66% of cases being people between 20 and 55. Thyroid cancer is highly treatable when detected early. The five-year survival rate for all thyroid cancer patients is 98%.

People who were exposed to radiation during childhood have a higher risk of developing thyroid cancer. This is particularly true if they received radiation therapy to the head and neck area. A family history of thyroid cancer also may increase the risk.

Thyroid cancer is diagnosed with a biopsy. Learn how the Afirma solution is helping doctors get a more definitive diagnosis. Learn More.