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Understanding Thyroid Nodules Genetic Risk Factors in the Family

by | Jun 25, 2024

Discover how our specialized thyroid nodules clinic in Singapore helps you understand genetic risk factors in your family when it comes to thyroid nodules. Learn about personalized assessments and advanced diagnostics to manage thyroid health effectively.

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Introduction to Thyroid Nodules and the Family

Managing your thyroid health starts with understanding specific conditions that you may be predisposed to developing because thyroid nodules and similar conditions are often hereditary. Thyroid nodules are particularly common in Singapore, which means that knowing what to look for and identifying this condition early is even more important. While most thyroid nodules are not cancerous, thyroid cancer has more than doubled among Singapore residents over the past 50 years. Approximately 8 percent of women and 2 percent of men in Singapore have thyroid nodules that are large enough to detect.

Here are some of the most important things to know about how genetics can impact your thyroid health, what the diagnosis and treatment process typically looks like, and how to approach thyroid nodules and other thyroid conditions if you know that you have a family history of thyroid issues.

 

The Role of Genetics in Thyroid Health

Thyroid nodules and other types of thyroid disease are often hereditary, which means that understanding your family medical history is key when it comes to taking control of your own health. Genetic predisposition can be an important factor in determining your overall risk of developing a thyroid condition, especially familial thyroid cancer, familial nonmedullary thyroid cancer, and other conditions that are linked to a specific type of inherited genetic mutation. Other conditions that are linked to environmental factors can also occur among multiple family members or other people that live together.

 

Familial Risk Factors

Because genetics play such an important role in determining your potential risk of developing thyroid nodules, understanding your family’s medical history is key when it comes to better understanding your likelihood of developing this condition and beginning preventative measures as early as possible. However, gathering this information is not always easy because not everyone is comfortable sharing sensitive medical information, even with close family members. Approaching this conversation by making it clear that you are gathering information for the sole purpose of improving your own health can often work better than allowing your family members to think that you are simply prying into their sensitive business.

If you are able to convince your parents, grandparents, or other family members to have this conversation with you, some helpful questions to ask might include:

  • Have you been diagnosed with thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer, or any other thyroid condition?
  • How old were you when this occurred?
  • What type of treatment did you have?
  • How well did your treatment work?

 

Diagnostic Process for Thyroid Nodules

Several types of diagnostic tests can be used to identify thyroid nodules. Certain options may be more likely to be used depending on your family medical history. These tests may include:

  • An ultrasound that creates images of your thyroid gland and makes it easier for your doctor to identify any irregularities
  • A neck test or other physical exam to check for swelling
  • A fine needle aspiration biopsy that tests a small cell sample to determine whether cancer is present
  • Various types of blood tests that evaluate the overall function of your thyroid and the amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone it is producing, such as TSH, T3, and T4

 

Genetic Testing and Counseling for Individuals With a Strong Family History of Thyroid Nodules

Genetic testing can play a key role in helping individuals with a known family history of thyroid nodules understand their next steps. These tests can detect specific mutations and other gene abnormalities to determine whether an individual is more likely to develop thyroid nodules. Genetic counseling uses these results to provide recommendations for whether immediate treatment is needed or waiting and monitoring the condition is an ideal alternative.

 

Preventing and Monitoring for Thyroid Nodules

Most types of thyroid nodules cannot be prevented because their cause is frequently unknown, but there are several risk factors for this condition that you may be able to manage to reduce your likelihood of developing them. Some of these risk factors include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Consuming too little iodine

Regular thyroid screening is also an essential step in understanding your thyroid health if you have a known family history of thyroid issues. Even if no signs of thyroid nodules are found, your doctor will likely recommend continuing to monitor your thyroid to identify any new developments as early as possible.

 

Thyroid Nodule Treatment Options

Many thyroid nodules that are not determined to be cancerous do not require immediate treatment if they are not causing any significant problems. However, your doctor may recommend thyroid hormone therapy if your thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormone or surgery if a thyroid nodule is large enough to interfere with breathing or sleeping.

Treatment options for cancerous thyroid nodules may include surgery and alcohol ablation (destroying the nodule by injecting alcohol into it). Treatments for nodules that are causing hyperthyroidism may include anti-thyroid medications, minimally invasive treatment options including radiofrequency ablation (RFA), surgery, and using radioactive iodine to shrink the nodule.

 

Choose Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic for Quality Thyroid Nodule Management in Singapore

At Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic, we understand the importance of considering genetic factors when it comes to making accurate diagnoses, identifying potential concerns early, and making the best possible treatment recommendations. While we know that obtaining accurate family health history information is not always easy, we are here to help you get the most out of those details when it comes to diagnosing and treating thyroid nodules. Contact us today to learn more about what to expect when managing genetic thyroid nodules in Singapore 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.