Like almost all medical conditions, early detection helps to yield better treatment results, and thyroid nodules or lumps are no different. Since these growths can be cancerous, conducting regular thyroid checks and talking to a specialist soon after detecting a growth is imperative. To assist with this process, we’re going to share how you can conduct a self assessment of your thyroid gland so you can help take care of your health.
Conducting A Thyroid Self-Assessment
Your thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the base of your neck above your collarbone. Performing a self-assessment is rather easy with the help of a mirror. To begin, stand facing a mirror and tilt your head back slightly. Relax your neck muscles and then swallow while focusing on the base of your neck. Look for any protrusions, asymmetry or growths that develop during swallowing. Next, put your hand up against the base of your neck and swallow again, this time feeling for any asymmetry or growths. Conduct these tests on a weekly or monthly basis to help stay on top of your thyroid gland health.
Most people think that as long as there isn’t pain in the region, they aren’t dealing with a thyroid nodule or growth. This simply isn’t true. The majority of thyroid nodules are painless, while the painful ones may be a sign of a quicker growing tumor, which requires prompt medical intervention. You should have nodules examined by a thyroid specialist like Dr. Koeplin, but know that oftentimes they are relatively normal and non-cancerous. In fact, roughly 90 percent of thyroid bumps are non-cancerous, so there is a large population base living with painless, non-cancerous growths on their thyroid. If the growth is ruled benign and it’s not causing swallowing difficulty or influencing hormone production, watchful waiting may be the only course of treatment.
If you suspect that you’re dealing with a thyroid nodule, don’t just ignore it and assume you’re in the 90 percent of benign growths. Thyroid cancer is a very treatable condition, especially when caught early, but problems develop is the issue is ignored for too long. Diagnosis and detection is often a very simple process as well. An endocrine specialist can examine the gland with an ultrasound to look for any growths that appear problematic. If they are concerned about a growth’s potential, they can take a biopsy of the cells to determine if it’s cancerous or benign. The overwhelming majority are non-cancerous, so the test can either provide you with peace of mind or a treatment plan for removing the growth if it turns out to need medical intervention.
At the end of the day, thyroid cancer is a very treatable condition when caught early on, and oftentimes patients are the first line of detection. They can help to diagnose potential growths with the aid of quick self-assessments on a regular basis. If you notice a lump or swelling in your lower neck, do right by your body and reach out to Dr. Koeplin’s office today to have it examined by a processional. Call our office at (651) 224-1347 for more information.