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Doctor insights on: Can A Benign Thyroid Nodule Become Cancerous

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Dr. Quang Nguyen
Board Certified, Endocrinology
26M people helped
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Can benign thyroid nodule become malignant?

Can benign thyroid nodule become malignant?

Well...: A thyroid nodule is technically not "benign" unless it's surgically removed and the pathologist found no cancer in the specimen. A nodule that is still in your neck could still be cancerous despite a "benign" biopsy because not all of the nodule is cancerous. Sometime it's just a speck that is cancerous and was missed during the biopsy. That's why it's important to continue to follow the nodule. ...Read more

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Dr. Bret Boyle
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Malignant (Definition)

The term malignant can be used in several medical contexts, but is primarily used to describe cancers. More dangerous and disorderly than the benign growth of cells, malignant cells have developed genetic changes that can allow it to invade other tissues in an unregulated way. These tumors can later spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body and ...Read more


Dr. Quang Nguyen
Board Certified, Endocrinology
26M people helped
2

2
Might a benign thyroid nodule someday become a cancer?

Might a benign thyroid nodule someday become a cancer?

Not 100%: If the nodule is still in your neck, there is no way to know that it is 100% benign. Even if you had a biopsy before and it came back benign, there is still a chance that the spot of cancer was missed during the first biopsy. This is why we don't "poo poo" it away after 1 biopsy but continue to follow the thyroid nodule to monitor for size changes. All said, the risk of cancer is very small. ...Read more

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Dr. Bret Boyle
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Dr. Kamran Janjua
Board Certified, Radiology
16 years in practice
264K people helped
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Could it happen such that a benign thyroid nodule turn into malignant years later?

Not likely: Benign thyroid nodules almost always remain that way. The more likely instance is that a malignant nodule grew within the benign nodule (more likely when the benign nodule is large). These are usually examined on ultrasound and biopsies via fine needle aspiration or core biopsy. Read more about it here: http://www.Conciergeradiologist.Com/ultrasound-guided-biopsy.Html. ...Read more

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Dr. Lawrence Hochman
Board Certified, Radiation Oncology
25 years in practice
376K people helped
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Can benign thyroid nodule turn cancerous?

Can benign thyroid nodule turn cancerous?

No: Thyroid nodules need to be fully evaluated, with ultrasound and bloodwork. Usually an endocrinologist is involved. A biopsy or fine needle aspiration is sometimes done. It is unlikely that a proven benign thyroid nodule will become cancerous. ...Read more

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Dr. Bret Boyle
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Dr. Eric Whitman
Board Certified, Surgical Oncology
30 years in practice
352K people helped
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Complex thyroid nodule biopsied said to be benign... Now regardless of the diagnosis... Could it be possible that nodule is cancerous and biopsy missed it?

Complex thyroid nodule biopsied said to be benign... Now regardless of the diagnosis... Could it be possible that nodule is cancerous and biopsy missed it?

Possibly: Thyroid nodules are notoriously difficult to interpret biopsy results, because the nodules themselves are often "complex" meaning non-uniform, and thus one portion may look benign while the other malignant, . ...Read more

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Dr. Myron Arlen
Board Certified, Surgical Oncology
58 years in practice
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How is it a 20 yr old (so called benign) thyroid nodule have new calcification and may now be cancerous? Why not take it out years ago? Very upsettin

How is it a 20 yr old (so called benign) thyroid nodule have new calcification and may now be cancerous?  Why not take it out years ago? Very upsettin

Need bx: Thyroid nodules are not uncommon. The rule is that multiple nodules are considered related to goiters and are benign. A solitary nodule has the potential of being or becoming cancerous. If I find a solitary nodule that is cold I suggest removing it. It can be a benign adenoma, but if left can convert to a carcinoma over time. ...Read more

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Dr. Liuska Pesce
Board Certified, Pediatric Endocrinology
17 years in practice
184K people helped
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7
Is it true that the majority of thyroid nodules are hypoechoic and although thyroid cancer is usually hypoechoic, most hypoechoic nodules are benign?

Size?: It is correct that in younger people thyroid nodules are benign, however, us is not very good at ruling out malignancy. Close follow up of the nodule is needed with us every 6 months. If the nodule is larger than 1 cm, fine needle aspiration biopsy needs to be considered. ...Read more

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Dr. Thomas Knecht
Board Certified, Endocrinology
25 years in practice
5M people helped
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Male with dominant homogenous solid thyroid nodule in midpoint that measures 1.1x1.3x1.7. Does this indicate a high cancer risk? Are most benign?

Male with dominant homogenous solid thyroid nodule in midpoint that measures 1.1x1.3x1.7. Does this indicate a high cancer risk?  Are most benign?

Most are benign: Hi. Yes, most nodules with those characteristics are benign. I'll assume you're not hyperthyroid (hyper-functioning nodules are NEVER cancer). Nevertheless, the chance of cancer is high enough (about 10-15% for nodules like that) that you MUST get it biopsied (non-surgical needle biopsy with gene testing is recommended). Don't ignore it, and don't ASSUME benignity. Cheers! ...Read more

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Dr. Nagesh Ragavendra
Board Certified, Interventional Radiology
45 years in practice
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9
3cm hypoechoic solid vascular thyroid nodule with a cluster of hurthle cells, fna benign, follow up ultrasound now shows microcalcifications. Cancer?

3cm hypoechoic solid vascular thyroid nodule with a cluster of hurthle cells, fna benign, follow up ultrasound now shows microcalcifications. Cancer?

Not necessarily...: The fact that FNA was reported as benign, the nodule is unlikely to be malignant. Small droplets of benign colloid often mimic "microcalcificatins" of papillary tumor, hence caution is advised. I would suggest repeating the FNA, and consider also collecting samples for gene profiling studies, such as, those manufactured by Veracyte and Asuragen (Note:I have no financial/other interest.) ...Read more

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Dr. Robert Lang
Board Certified, Endocrinology
46 years in practice
1M people helped
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Are cold thyroid nodules cancerous?

Are cold thyroid nodules cancerous?

Only occassionally: While almost all thyroid cancers are cold, so are most benign nodules. If the nodule is hot, it is extremely rare for it to be cancer. If it is cold and looks suspicious on an ultrasound performed or at least interpreted by a very experienced clinician, it should be biopsied to see if surgery is necessary. ...Read more

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Dr. Barry Rosen
3,998 doctors shared insights

Cancer (Definition)

An uncontrolled cell growth leading to invasion and metastases is what cancer is defined as. It produced abnormal growth of cells which acquire destructive properties causing serious threat to host's life, unless it can be removed or destroyed by ...Read more


Nodule (Definition)

Any growth or deposit in the body or on its surface may be casually termed a nodule until its character is determined by the familiarity of the physician with it or by the results of a biopsy if it is not so obvious. The term is casual ...Read more


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Dr. Bret Boyle
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