Aim: The aim of this study was to describe the demographic characteristics and disease patterns among patients with thyroid nodular abnormalities (goiter) and benign tumors of the thyroid gland in Albania, a transitional country in South Eastern Europe. Methods: Our study included all patients diagnosed with goiter and/or benign tumors of the thyroid gland who were hospitalized at the University Hospital Center (UHC) “Mother Teresa” in Tirana between 2004 and 2012 (N=2258). All patients underwent the same examination and interviewing procedures. Demographic characteristics included gender, age, and place of residence. Binary logistic regression was used to compare the demographic characteristics between patients with benign tumors of the thyroid gland and those with goiter. Results: Overall, there were 2204 patients with goiter and 54 patients with benign tumors of the thyroid gland hospitalized at UHC over the period 2004-2012. There was no evidence of statistically significant differences in demographic characteristics (age, gender, or place of residence) between patients with benign tumors of the thyroid gland and those with goiter. Conclusions: Our study provides useful evidence on the epidemiology of benign tumors of the thyroid gland and the thyroid nodular abnormalities (goiter) in the Albanian population. Future studies in Albania should assess the main determinants of thyroid gland disorders and compare them with findings pertinent to other similar populations.
benign tumors, goiter, thyroid gland, thyroid nodular abnormalities.