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Thyroid Nodules vs. Parathyroid Tumors

by | Jun 25, 2024

Explore the differences between thyroid nodules and parathyroid tumors at our specialized thyroid nodules clinic in Singapore. Gain insights into advanced diagnostics, personalized treatment options, and expert care for thyroid and parathyroid conditions with our thyroid nodule specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja.

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Introduction to Thyroid Nodules and Parathyroid Tumors

Thyroid nodules and parathyroid tumors may sound similar on the surface, but the majority of the symptoms and other problems they can cause are quite different. Here are some of the most important things to know about the differences between thyroid nodules and parathyroid tumors, as well as what to expect if you are diagnosed with one of these conditions.

 

Understanding Thyroid Nodules

Thyroid nodules are fluid-filled growths that form within your thyroid gland. While some large thyroid nodules can affect swallowing or breathing, most do not cause any obvious symptoms. These nodules often go undetected until they are large enough to be seen or felt unless your doctor finds them while testing for something else. Thyroid nodules have the potential to be malignant (cancerous), but approximately 95 percent are benign. They can be caused by various genetic factors, as well as radiation exposure, iodine deficiency, and other sources. Thyroid nodules are generally diagnosed using an ultrasound, biopsy, or various blood tests that evaluate thyroid function. 

female thyroid gland illustration

Understanding Parathyroid Tumors

Parathyroid tumors are a type of growth that occurs within your parathyroid gland, which is responsible for producing parathyroid hormones. These hormones regulate your blood’s calcium and phosphorus levels, and these tumors can lead to hypercalcemia (elevated calcium) by increasing parathyroid hormone production. These tumors can be cancerous, but most are not. Specific types of parathyroid tumors include:

  • Adenoma
  • Hyperplasia
  • Parathyroid carcinoma

Parathyroid tumors are often caused by certain genetic or familial factors, but radiation exposure and other risk factors can also increase your likelihood of developing this condition. These tumors are generally diagnosed using an ultrasound, blood tests, that evaluate calcium and parathyroid hormone levels, or a sestamibi scan (a type of imaging test that is used to identify overactive parathyroid glands).

 

Anatomical and Functional Differences

Thyroid nodules and parathyroid tumors are typically found in different locations and have different structures and functions. Thyroid nodules are found within the thyroid glands, while parathyroid tumors are found within the parathyroid glands. These glands are typically a cluster of four small glands that are located just behind the larger thyroid gland. Thyroid nodules tend to have a round or oval shape, while parathyroid nodules tend to be more triangular or dacryoid (teardrop) shaped. Thyroid nodules primarily affect the production of proper thyroid hormone levels, while parathyroid tumors have an impact on how well PTH secretion is able to regulate calcium.

 

Differences in Symptoms and Other Problems

Thyroid nodules and parathyroid tumors can produce some symptoms that initially look the same, but other issues can be quite different and help to distinguish between these two conditions. Parathyroid tumors can cause hypercalcemia, which can lead to increased fatigue, a higher susceptibility to fractures, depression and other mental health concerns, and kidney stones.

Thyroid nodules can lead to either hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone production) or hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone production). Hypothyroidism may cause excess fatigue, weight gain, and problems handling the cold. Hyperthyroidism may cause weight loss, anxiety, and a rapid heartbeat. While fatigue can signal either condition, your doctor will use other symptoms to determine which one you are likely experiencing.

 

Differences in Treatment Options

Because thyroid nodules and parathyroid tumors are much more different conditions than they might appear to be on the surface, their treatment options can also look quite different.

Thyroid nodule treatment options typically include:

Most parathyroid tumors are treated by surgically removing as much of them as possible. Radiation, chemotherapy, and other medications may also be used if your parathyroid tumor is cancerous.

 

When to Seek Medical Advice

Knowing when to see a doctor is key when it comes to starting treatment as early as possible if he or she decides it is necessary. While many thyroid nodules and parathyroid tumors take time to cause serious symptoms or never develop severe symptoms at all, some common reasons to seek medical advice include:

  • Sudden unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Difficulty sleeping or extreme fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • A pounding or rapid heartbeat
  • Depression or other mental health concerns

 

Access Expert Care and Treatment with our Thyroid Nodules Specialist in Singapore

At Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic, we prioritize using all available information to make the most accurate diagnoses possible and ensure that our patients across Singapore understand the details of their conditions. While thyroid nodules and parathyroid tumors can seem similar to patients before they are diagnosed, the differences between these conditions can make them much easier to distinguish between than you might expect. Dr. Manish Taneja, our thyroid nodules specialist, is always here to answer any questions you have about thyroid nodules, parathyroid tumors, or any other thyroid concerns or to help you understand what to expect throughout the process of treating any of these conditions. Contact us today to learn more about the distinctions between thyroid nodules and parathyroid tumors or to schedule an appointment.

Thyroid Nodule Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) Treatment

Radiofrequency ablation aims to give patients a non-surgical option for treating thyroid nodules. This procedure is a minimally invasive option that a surgeon can perform, should the preliminary tests determine that you would benefit from it.

The Advantages of RFA of Thyroid Nodules
The major advantages of the technique are as below.

  1. It is done as day surgery procedure under light sedation.
  2. It takes about 45 minutes to one hour to complete the entire procedure.
  3. Patients are discharged the same day.
  4. Normal thyroid tissue adjacent to the nodule is preserved.
  5. It does not affect thyroid function.
  6. Multiple nodules can be treated at same time.
  7. The treated nodules do not regrow again.
  8. No surgical scar with needle mark on the skin.
  9. Quick recovery and back to full activity and normal lifestyle.
  10. The technique is suitable to treat even large thyroid nodules.

Find out how thyroid nodule Radiofrequency Ablation can help you in a minimally invasive way on our blog post, “Thyroid Nodule Radiofrequency Ablation Treatment: Diagnosis,  Management, and Recovery.”

Find the Right Doctor

From family and internal medicine to specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja is the best in the field. As a vascular and interventional radiology specialist, Dr Manish Taneja looks after peripheral vascular disease, aneurysms, dialysis interventions, venous diseases like deep vein thrombosis, and varicose veins/spider veins/reticular veins. He is also competent in performing newer endovascular procedures such as uterine artery embolization, prostate artery embolization, genicular artery embolization, and erectile dysfunction interventions. Dr. Manish Taneja also has extensive experience in performing all vascular interventions, non-vascular interventions and interventional oncology procedures.

Read More About Vascular Treatments on Our Blog

To dive deeper into the types of vascular treatments such as thyroid nodule radiofrequency ablation, head over to our clinic’s blog.  Read our recommended vascular treatments related blog posts to stay informed.

Thyroid Nodule Resources

How to Keep Thyroid Healthy for Optimal Well-Being

As part of the endocrine system, the thyroid hormones must be perfectly balanced at all times for the body to function normally.

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Caring For Your Thyroid Health

Have you ever experienced difficulty swallowing or breathing? You may have risk factors including a family history of thyroid nodules or iodine deficiency. Thyroid nodules are abnormal lumps (growths) within the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped gland located below your voice box. Even if most thyroid nodules are benign, 10-15% of nodules are cancerous. Sometimes overgrowth of normal thyroid tissue can lead to hyperthyroidism. In other cases, multiple nodules can form in the thyroid called multinodular goiter. Fluid filled thyroid cysts can be one type of thyroid nodule within the thyroid. More complex nodules may lead to thyroid cancers. Depending on the root cause and type of nodule you have, patients can monitor with regular ultrasound or even have a thyroid fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAC) if required. Surgery to remove partial or whole thyroid gland can be done but thanks to minimally invasive treatments such as Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA), this procedure can treat noncancerous and cancerous thyroid lumps.

Types of Thyroid Nodules and Cancer

Watch our video guide and find out more on our blog post, “Types of Thyroid Nodules and Cancer” with the types, causes, evaluation, biopsy, treatment options, and when to see a thyroid specialist. Find answers to questions on whether thyroid nodules are cancerous or not.

Arrange Your Appointment

Consult Vascular Specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja

Other Health Conditions

The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various conditions and pain management. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our thyroid nodule specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.