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- The Trouble with Follicular Tumors
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- Thyroid Lymphoma
- You Have Some Nerve!!
- A Big One
- Graves' Disease
- Size Does Matter
- Hurthle Cell Carcinoma of the Thyroid
- Hashimoto's Thyroiditis with Right Sided Aorta
- From Russia with love....
- "Subcentimeter Nodule" the Red-Headed Step-Child of Ultrasonography
The word "goiter" really is not a very descriptive term.
The word “goiter” has been around for a long, long time. I remember as a child reading about the iodine deficiency in some regions of America where people developed huge thyroid glands as a result of that lack of iodine. These were called goiters. Some patients in my office bring up an episode of the TV show Seinfeld, where an elderly lady had a very large and deforming “goiter” that was embarrassing to those around her.
The problem I find with the word “goiter” is that it really isn’t a very descriptive term. Often times a colleague will call me up and say he has a patient he would like me to see and the patient has a goiter. I have no idea what that means. The diagnostic possibilities here are enormous. On the other hand, if my colleague calls me up and says he has a patient with a 3 centimeter in diameter mass which is very firm, located in the upper portion of the right lobe of the thyroid gland, then I have a really good idea about the patient’s problem.
The medical dictionary defines “goiter” as “an enlargement of the thyroid”. This is just not descriptive and therefore not helpful. I have a saying that I came up with many years ago about this subject, and it goes like this: “Because the word goiter means so many different things to so many people, it really means nothing to anybody.” That is my tongue in cheek way of asking doctors and patients alike to describe the thyroid enlargement in detail so that I may get a feel for what the thyroid problem really is.
It is said that we should choose our battles in life, and, frankly, I don’t think I’m going to win this one. The word ‘goiter’ is probably going to still be in use long after I retire from the practice of thyroid surgery.