Thyroid nodules are typically asymptomatic, and 33% to 68% of adults have thyroid nodules when evaluated by ultrasound.1 Most thyroid nodules are benign, but about 7% to 15% of individuals with thyroid nodules harbor thyroid cancer.2 Thyroid nodules may also cause morbidity due to hyperthyroidism or local compression. Population-based studies suggest a doubling in thyroid cancer incidence in recent decades, but nearly all of this increase is attributable to clinically occult cancers detected incidentally on imaging or pathology.
Cohen RN, Davis AM. Management of Adult Patients With Thyroid Nodules and Differentiated Thyroid Cancer. JAMA. 2017;317(4):434-435. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.18420