Orginal Publication Date
MCV/Q, Medical College of Virginia Quarterly
Thyroid nodules occur frequently, are more common in women, and the incidence increases with age for both sexes. Clinically normal thyroid glands commonly contain nodules in autopsy series. In 20- to 50-year-old females, as high as 50% of the thyroid glands are nodular, whereas in males the incidence approaches 30%. When the prevalence of clinically palpable thyroid nodules was the objective of the Framingham population researchers, Vander et al detected nodules in 6.4% of females and 1.5% of males aged 30-50 years. Even with diligent, thorough examination of the neck, only about one tenth of pathologically nodular thyroid glands can be detected. However, the number of palpable nodules is significant, and determination of the pathology of the nodule or goiter, once found, rests with the patient's physician. Unfortunately, a detailed history and physical examination frequently does not provide all the necessary information needed to make a definite etiologic or pathologic diagnosis. Knowledge of the type of goiter is mandatory for proper treatment of the various disorders of the thyroid gland.
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