Thyroid Nodules: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Thyroid nodules are growths or lumps in the thyroid gland. Your thyroid is in the front of your neck. It controls how your body uses energy.

You may have tests to see if the nodule is caused by cancer. Most nodules aren't cancer and don't cause problems. Many don't even need treatment.

If you do have cancer, it can usually be cured. Treatment will probably include surgery. You may also get radioactive iodine treatment. If your thyroid can't make thyroid hormone after treatment, you can take a pill every day to replace the hormone.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Be safe with medicines. If you take thyroid hormone medicine:
    • Take it exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. If you take the right amount and don't skip doses, you probably won't have side effects.
    • Tell your doctor about any medicines you take. This includes over-the-counter medicines.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You lose consciousness.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have shortness of breath.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You have pain in your neck, jaw, or ear.
  • You have problems swallowing.
  • You feel weak and tired.
  • You have nervousness, a fast heartbeat, hand tremors, problems sleeping, increased sweating, and weight loss.
  • You do not feel better even though you are taking your medicine.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.