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Study: Few Thyroid Lumps Turn Cancerous

A new study suggests that people with non-cancerous lumps on the thyroid may not need the close follow-up they get now. About half of people develop these lumps, called nodules, by age 60. Most are found when people get imaging tests for other reasons. More than 90% are found to be benign (not cancerous). But follow-up tests are recommended in case they do turn into cancer. The new study included nearly 1,000 people with thyroid nodules. Some had biopsies with a fine needle to make sure the nodules were not cancerous. Others skipped the biopsy because the nodules were less than 1 centimeter across and did not look like cancer. Everyone got an ultrasound scan each year for 5 years, as current guidelines recommend. In that time, most nodules didn't change much. About 15% grew in size by at least half. About 19% of the nodules shrank.

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