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What is the Thyroid?
The thyroid is an endocrine organ in the neck. It makes the hormone thyroxine which is important in controlling the body’s metabolism.
The commonest thyroid problem is the development of an underactive thyroid gland also known as hypothyroidism, which can cause many symptoms; tiredness, intolerance of the cold, constipation and puffiness are common. This is easy to test for, identify the cause and any important associations, and to correctly treat.
An overactive thyroid also known as hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis, is also quite a common condition which can lead to many symptoms; palpitations, lethargy, excess sweating and heat intolerance, and weight loss all being common. It is important to identify this condition, identify the cause and discuss the different treatment options.
Thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer
The thyroid often develops nodules and these may be felt in the neck or found on scans that may have been done for another reason. Mostly these nodules should not be a cause for concern but it is important to ensure they have no worrying features that could be in keeping with cancer. Our specialists work with the leading thyroid head and neck radiologists to maximise this reassurance.
Thyroid cancer is a rare cancer but when found needs carefully thought out treatment and follow up. Our specialists have a wide ranging experience dealing with this condition and look after large numbers of affected individuals in a multi-disciplinary setting.
Treatment for Thyroid Disorders
Treating an underactive thyroid is usually quite straightforward but adjusting the dose to maximise the benefits is essential for good health. Our specialists can advise about the dose and make sure there are no associated conditions responsible for any symptoms that remain once normal thyroid levels have been restored.
Treatments for an overactive thyroid depend on the exact cause and the long-term aims of treatment. Options of treatment that will be discussed include medical treatment, radioactive iodine and surgery. If the cause is a single nodule, treatment with the new technique of radiofrequency ablation (available at One Welbeck) may also be discussed.
Thyroid nodules and cancer
Our specialist will direct tests to distinguish between very common non-cancerous (benign) nodules and occasional thyroid cancers. If there is a concern about the size of a benign thyroid nodule (or multiple nodules) treatment options will include surgery and also a new less-invasive technique of radio-frequency ablation. One Welbeck is one of the very few private centres in the UK offering this technique. If tests are unable to rule out or confirm a thyroid cancer, the outlook and prognosis remain excellent, but usually surgery will be recommended with one of our dedicated thyroid surgeons.