How often are thyroid cancers found because of assessment for something else? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Thyroid cancers are most often found because someone is being evaluated for another issue and imaging finds a cancer, a very large international study concludes. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, says it’s unclear what these findings mean.

Nelson: The thyroid surgery was done at 16 centers across four 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.  6% were the result of some kind of diagnostic cascade, 20% were found by an incidental finding on some X-ray study of one kind or another done for a different purpose, about 13% were on screening that was recommended by the physician. The biggest bucket was on an accidental finding by a scan.   :31

Nelson says screening specifically for thyroid cancer probably isn’t the best course at this point, and more research is needed. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.