DESCRIPTIONA thyroid tumor is a benign or malignant thyroid nodule. Benign tumors are unlikely to spread to other body parts. These growths may be cystic or solid (thyroid adenoma). Malignant thyroid nodules can spread and threaten your child's life. Early symptoms of both types are the same. The thyroid gland in the front of the neck is involved. Thyroid tumors can affect both sexes, but benign nodules are more common in females than males. Thyroid tumors can affect all ages, but malignant nodules are more likely in children between ages 4 and 7.
Appropriate health care includes:
Home care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Surgery to aspirate a cystic tumor or to remove a solid tumor and the affected lobe of the thyroid.
Radioactive iodine treatment (See Glossary).
Speech therapy, if your child's voice is affected after surgery.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSSwelling or lump in the child's thyroid gland.
Pain and tenderness in the child's thyroid gland.
Breathing difficulty (rare).
Symptoms of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
RISK FACTORSRadiation treatment during childhood--even in small doses--to the head, neck, and upper chest.
Family history of thyroid tumors.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEAvoid having the child receive radiation treatments to the neck for acne, tonsillitis, enlarged thymus gland, or other minor conditions.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory tests, such as radioactive-iodine uptake studies, CAT or CT scan (See Glossary for both) and blood studies of thyroid function.
Biopsy (See Glossary).
Spread of a malignant tumor to adjacent parts, requiring radical surgery to remove lymph nodes and muscles of one side of the child's neck.
Hypothyroidism or hypoparathyroidism, caused by inadvertent injury to the child's thyroid or parathyroid glands during surgery.
Permanent hoarseness and loss of voice following surgery for some thyroid cancers.
Usually curable with surgery or a combination of surgery and radioactive-iodine treatment.
If your child no longer has a voice, special equipment is available from the telephone company and other agencies to assist with speech.
After thyroid surgery, when the child rises from a lying to a sitting position, put a pillow under the head and support it with your hands to prevent neck-muscle strain.
MEDICATIONAnti-thyroid medications or replacement thyroid hormone.
Radioactive iodine to treat cancer.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your doctor may prescribe:
Your child can resume normal activities as soon as symptoms improve after surgery.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?After recovery from surgery.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of thyroid nodules or thyroid enlargement.
The following occurs after surgery:
-- Symptoms of hypothyroidism (fatigue, puffy face, rapid weight gain, and coarse hair).
-- Bleeding, pain, or swelling at the surgical site.
-- Twitching muscles.
-- Breathing difficulty.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.