If you have recently been to see an ENT Specialist, and he or she has referred you to an endocrinologist because of something amiss with your thyroid, you may be wondering what is going on. You may even be a little bit worried, given that thyroid cancer is a very real disease, and people do die from it. However, you should also know that thyroid cancer is not very common at all, and if you are a man, your risks are significantly lower than a woman's for developing this type of cancer. In the event that the endocrinologist does notice something out of the ordinary, here are three thyroid treatment approaches, based on what the endocrinologist finds and the severity and seriousness of the situation.
One of the first tests that both your ENT specialist and endocrinologist will perform is a TSH blood level test. This test takes a sample of your blood and tests for the amount of TSH present. TSH is the hormone produced by your thyroid, and it helps regulate body temperature and weight. If the TSH is too high or too low, and if your thyroid is enlarged or has some unusual nodes (lumps) on it, your doctors will begin the first and least serious thyroid treatment, which is almost always medication. Artificial hormone pills will help restabilize your TSH and hopefully fix some of the physical issues you have with your thyroid.
Biopsies and Injections
A second treatment for thyroid problems involves taking a biopsy of any abnormalities palpated (felt manually) on your thyroid. This is usually done as in inpatient office visit, and at this time an ultrasound machine is used to guide a long needle into the unusual areas of the thyroid. There, the needle is used to collect sample cells of an abnormality while the ultrasound wand helps your doctor take pictures.
If your doctor determines you are a good candidate for injectable therapy, you will probably set up an appointment to come into the office again to set up an appointment to begin injection therapy. For this type of therapy, the doctor injects medication directly into the thyroid. After a few weeks, the process may be repeated when the treatment appears to be working. If it does not appear to be working, treatment is halted, and your doctor may discuss the next form of treatment with you.
Radiation and/or Thyroidectomy
As a very last resort, and typically one reserved for extreme thyroid issues or thyroid cancer, your doctor may suggest radiation therapy to shrink an enlarged thyroid or shrink thyroid nodules. If you would rather avoid the radiation therapy (especially if you are pregnant, nursing or of childbearing years), your doctor may suggest a thyroidectomy. This procedure removes some or all of your thyroid.
For more information, contact Alpine Ear, Nose & Throat, PC or a similar location.