How do most people with thyroid cancer find out they have it? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Thyroid cancer seems to be occurring more often globally, yet a recent study shows that for the majority of people who had surgery for thyroid cancer, the cancer was found while they were being evaluated for something else, a so-called incidental finding. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Nelson: Thyroid surgery was done at 16 centers across 4 countries. Only about a third of them were performed in patients who had some kind of symptomatic thyroid problem. The rest of them were all asymptomatic, so you say well how did they get there? Six percent were the result of some logic that led themselves to the thyroid and found thyroid cancer. Twenty percent were found by an incidental finding on some x-ray study of one kind or another done for a different purpose. Thirteen percent were on screening that was recommended by the physician. The biggest bucket was on an accidental finding by a scan.  :34

Nelson says this clearly points to the need for better detection methods. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.