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The Prairie Doc: The Physician-Patient

Last spring, I was at home washing my hands, and as I glanced up into the mirror, I noticed something unusual. My bathroom light hit my neck just right as I swallowed and there it was: a prominent lump. I diagnosed myself with a thyroid nodule and wondered how I, a physician, had failed to notice this large protuberance before that moment.

Thyroid nodules are quite common. In some cases, they are noticed by the patient (like me) or are found on exam. In many cases they are found on accident when someone has an imaging test like a CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound, done for some other reason. The vas...