Thyroid nodules are lumps that form in the thyroid gland. Thyroid nodules are rarely associated with dysfunction, and most can be cured completely even if they contain malignant cancer.
Swelling of the thyroid is classified into two types. The first is diffuse goiter in which the entire thyroid gland swells, similar to symptoms of Basedow’s disease and Hashimoto’s disease. The second type is nodular goiter, in which only a part of the thyroid swells in a nodular fashion.
All types of thyroid tumors are common in women aged 20-60. Patients report no other symptoms aside from than the presence of nodules.
Thyroid nodules are academically defined as thyroid tumors. Thyroid tumors are classified as benign, malignant, or hyperplasia. Hyperplasia, which actually only resembles a tumor, is a benign condition in which cells have proliferated in normal tissues. Malignant tumors must be followed closely. Given this variation, a central goal of the examinations is to differentiate between benign and malignant tumors.
Tumors can be largely divided into the following five types (in accordance with the General Rules for the Description of Thyroid Cancer):
1. Benign tumors
2. Malignant tumors
3. Other tumors
4. Unclassified tumors
5. Tumor-like lesions
Benign tumors include follicular adenoma. Malignant tumors include papillary carcinoma, follicular carcinoma, poorly differentiated carcinoma, medullary carcinoma, undifferentiated carcinoma, and malignant lymphoma. Tumor-like lesions, which tend to be benign, include adenomatous goiter and cysts.