The signs, symptoms, and diagnosis of thyroid nodules and cancer in children and young adults is almost identical to that of older individuals. This means there are few if any symptoms and a workup should consist of a dedicated thyroid ultrasound and fine needle biopsy.
Quick facts about thyroid nodules and cancer in younger patients
- Although more prevalent in older adults, thyroid nodules are not uncommon in younger individuals.
- Children and adolescents tend to present with more advanced disease (though have the best overall survival which approaches 98%-100%).
- Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine cancer in the pediatric population, representing about 1% of all pediatric malignancies in pre-pubertal children to 7% in adolescents, with the incidence increasing by 1.1% per year.
Luckily, thyroid cancer is very treatable and survivors live long, healthy, productive lives.