thyroidThe thyroid gland, shaped like a butterfly, sits just below the skin and several thin muscle layers in the lower part of the neck. It’s attached to the deeper neck structures (trachea and voice box) and moves up when we swallow. The thyroid gland secretes hormones that control a variety of systems all through out life including our metabolism, growth and development. Each year about 35,000 Americans are diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It is about 2 to 4 times more common in women than in men, and is most prevalent between ages 25 and 65. All thyroid cancers develop first as a small lump (nodule) in the thyroid gland; however, most nodules are not cancerous.


Thyroid Nodule


A thyroid nodule is essentially a lump in the thyroid. Lumps in the thyroid gland can be very common, and as many as 40-50% of the population can have nodules in their thyroid gland. The problem with thyroid nodules is that both benign and cancerous tumors in the thyroid start as nodules and initially they can have the same appearance, so that they may not be distinguished on ultrasound, CT scan or MRI. Therefore often times when a nodule is found, and if it is large enough, a biopsy is done. If it is too small to biopsy or appears to be not suspicious then it may be monitored by regular examinations or ultrasound. Biopsy of a thyroid nodule is called FNA or Fine Needle Aspiration If the nodule can be felt by touching the neck then we perform the FNA directly; if the nodule is deep and not easily felt, then we perform the FNA under visualization by ultrasound in our office. FNA is very simple and will take only a few minutes; numbing medicine is used for more comfort.

Thyroid Cancer


Although the incidence of thyroid cancer is increasing by roughly 4% a year, the mortality of the disease has not changed. The reason for the increase is not clear, but could be due to an increase in the number of ultrasound, MRI, and CT Scans of the neck being done for other reasons. Thus the cancers are being diagnosed at an earlier stage and thus more easily cured. The treatment and cure rate of thyroid cancer is dependent on the type and extent (how big and has it spread to other parts outside of the thyroid gland).

The four kinds of thyroid cancer are papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic. Papillary & Follicular are characterized generally as well differentiated (meaning they have more characteristics of the thyroid gland), while anaplastic is at the opposite end of the spectrum with little remaining similarity to the thyroid gland.

First Surgical Office Locations

Oakland Office
365 Hawthorne Ave, #101
Oakland, Ca 94609
Ph# 510-465-5523
Fax# 510-832-6061

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2999 Regent St #700
Berkeley, Ca 94705
Ph# 510-486-0818
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Hayward Office
27001 Calaroga Ave, #4
Hayward, Ca 94544
Ph# 510-732-5731
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Chinatown Office
388 9th St #218B
Oakland, Ca 94607
Ph# 510-839-0298 
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Bariatrics Office (Summit South)
3100 Summit St, #2600
Oakland, Ca 94609
Ph# 510-869-8972
Fax# 510-869-6989

Comprehensive Cancer Center
2001 Dwight Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
Ph# 510-204-1634
Fax# 510-204-5749