Question about Thyroid Nodules and family history of thyroid cancer - 1270070

Sun, 06/07/2015 - 16:25

My mother had anaplastic (medullary) thyroid cancer as well as thyroid lymphoma (and a type of skin cancer that gave her hundreds of spots all over her body). It took her 3 weeks from diagnosis.....

We were told it was a hereditary dominant trait and each of us kids had a 50% chance of having the gene but don't know the gene.... I have since been tested for RET and a few others (all negative so far).

After having issues with sore throat I had a thyroid scan Feb 1st that showed a small 5-6 mm nodule on right lobe. I just had a repeat for follow up and in just 4 months time a new nodule over 1 cm is now on my left lobe and its painful. Hurts when I swallow, aches other times. Its hard to swallow, and I am hoarse, etc. The other nodule on right is stable it seems.

A year ago all thyroid tests were normal with the exception of thyroglobulin which was over 600. I will be having these repeated this week.

Is this considered to be a fast growing nodule and should I be worried? I feel like my ENT doc passed me off and didn't care- he didn't even palpate my thyroid in Feb after the scan.

I also have enlarged glands in my neck area. Not huge, but clearly palpable......

Any help or reassurances would be great. I am not freaking out but knowing what I know about anaplastic thyroid cancer and my mom has me very concerned.

Thanks in advance!

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Welcome to Grace. I hope this is just a short stop on an otherwise uneventful path. I'll ask our head and neck specialist to comment.

I want to say that my sister had what all her doctors thought to be an aggressive thyroid cancer many years ago and we were all preparing for the worst. It was not cancer and she lives quite well on synthetic hormones today.

Best of luck,

dr. weiss


A growing thyroid nodule should not be ignored, especially in a patient with a remarkable family history of thyroid cancer. Symptoms of pain with swallowing and hoarseness should also not be ignored. You should strongly consider seeing a thyroid cancer expert at a major academic medical center. More specifically, consider seeing a surgeon who specializes in thyroid cancer (surgeons are the "primary care doctors" of thyroid nodules, even if surgery isn't required).

It may also be worth finding out for certain what gene your mother had, then seeing a genetic counselor to learn more about it, and to learn what, if any testing might be indicated. A good surgeon at a major center will be able to refer you appropriately.

Jared Weiss