Children's Hospital Colorado

Thyroid Nodules

What are thyroid nodules?

Thyroid nodules or masses are abnormal growths on the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a small endocrine gland located in the middle of your neck, just below the voice box. The gland is divided into a right and left side (lobes). It makes hormones that help regulate the body's metabolism, among other things.

What causes thyroid nodules?

The cause of thyroid nodules may be unknown. Anyone can get a thyroid nodule. Thyroid nodules are very common in older adults and are often benign (not cancer). Children can also have thyroid nodules. The rate of cancer in thyroid nodules among children is higher than adults. However, most pediatric thyroid nodules in children are also benign.

A child's risk of thyroid nodules is increased if they have a family history of thyroid nodules or thyroid cancer. Previous exposure to radiation therapy used to treat another form of cancer also increases the risk of thyroid nodules.