Hyperthyroidism, caused by an overactive thyroid gland, has major effects on behavior, school performance, and the heart. Thyroid disorders that result in hyperthyroidism include Graves’ disease, multinodular goiters and thyroid nodules. These conditions can result in a stimulation of the body’s metabolism and symptoms such as nervousness, anxiety and a high heart rate. This condition is treated with medication, radioactive iodine or surgery.
Thyroid disorders that result in hypothyroidism include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and congenital hypothyroidism – which result in decreased production of thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism can result in a slowing of the child’s metabolism and growth. This condition is treated with medication.
Thyroid Nodules and Cancer
Thyroid nodules and cancer are growths with the thyroid gland. These conditions present with enlargement of the thyroid gland. Thyroid cancers affecting children include papillary thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer, medullary thyroid cancer, Hurthle cell, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. With proper care, children with thyroid cancer have wonderful long-term outcomes. This condition is treated with surgery, radioactive iodine and medication.
Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN) Syndromes
Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN) syndromes are associated with medullary cancer of the thyroid, pheochromocytomas and problems with the parathyroid glands. There are several types of MEN syndromes, including MEN1, MEN2a, and MEN2b. MEN conditions can be diagnosed with genetic tests and require expert care. This condition is treated with surgery and medication.
Familial Thyroid Cancer
Some forms of thyroid cancer can occur in several members of the same family. These cancers may be medullary thyroid cancer or non-medullary thyroid cancer. When more than two members of a family have thyroid cancer, we recommend that other family members be screened.
Genetic causes of Thyroid Nodules and Cancer
Several uncommon conditions can be associated with thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer. These conditions include Cowden syndrome, Carney syndrome, McCune Albright syndrome and Warner syndrome. These conditions can be identified by examination and genetic testing.