Thyroid nodules are a common finding in clinical and radiological (mainly ultrasonographic) examinations. Although most are benign, a small percentage of thyroid nodules have the potential to become malignant or are malignant. This article aims to assist GPs with the evaluation of thyroid nodules and providing timely referral when appropriate.
Thyroid nodules are radiologically distinct lesions within the thyroid parenchyma. They are palpable in 4 to 7% of the population during routine physical examination and detected in up to 67% through high-resolution ultrasonography.1,2 Thyroid nodules are clinically relevant, as about 4 to 6.5% of nodules are malignant and are associated with significant morbidity when the diagnosis is missed.1,3 Furthermore, the high prevalence of thyroid nodules has led to excessive investigations, leading to significant economic burden on the healthcare system. This article aims to assist GPs in developing a diagnostic approach for evaluating thyroid nodules by determining the probability of a malignant nodule, developing a management plan and making timely referrals.