The thyroid gland is a "bow tie" shaped structure that overlies the trachea and helps regulate the body's metabolism. Occasionally, growths can develop in the thyroid gland which might be felt as a lump by an individual or by their primary care provider. Fortunately, the majority of growths within the thyroid gland are non-cancerous, or benign. Risk factors for thyroid cancer include a family history of thyroid cancer or a history of exposure to excessive radiation. Symptoms of thyroid cancer include: a lump in the thyroid gland, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness and/or throat discomfort.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should pursue an evaluation by an ENT physician who will examine your thyroid gland and may suggest further tests such as an ultrasound examination of the thyroid, which may also include a fine needle aspiration of the gland. Should surgery be required, the doctors at Ear, Nose and Throat Associates have considerable experience in managing thyroid tumors. To ensure the safety of thyroid surgery and to minimize the risk of a vocal cord injury (a known risk from this surgery), our physician group uses contemporary laryngeal nerve monitoring at the time of thyroid surgery. We also work closely with San Mateo community endocrinologists and radiation therapists to provide comprehensive care for thyroid cancer patients.