Re: Painful lump on thyroid gland
First, I should say that my own issue is hypothyroidism, but I have been reading about all kinds of thyroid problems for well over a year and a half. Still, I'm just a layperson.
In all of that reading, and with all of the personal experiences I've seen on this board, I have never heard of a thyroid X-ray being performed. I don't think it would reveal anything at all. After ultrasound and FNA, usually a thyroid uptake and scan would be the next step. A small dose of radioactive iodine is swallowed; after the gland takes up the RAI, a scan of the gland is done to determine if the nodule is "hot" or "cold". A cold nodule has more potential for malignancy than a hot one.
FNA is a sensitive and accurate test, but I have seen instances reported here where FNA had proved negative for cancer; but upon lobectomy to remove the nodule, cancer cells were discovered during the pathology exam.
The sudden appearance of painful nodules can signal the appearance of thyroid cancer. But your friend should keep in mind that only about 90% of nodules are cancerous, and when they are, over 95% of the cancers are curable. There many other benign conditions that can cause painful nodules as well, so she should try to remain calm about the worst possibilities.
I do think though, that I would be nervous about the credentials of a doctor who would order a standard X-ray of my thyroid gland.
Hope that helped.