Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Zealous imaging fuelling unnecessary and harmful treatment of low risk thyroid cancers, experts warn

Date:
August 27, 2013
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
New imaging techniques are fuelling an epidemic in diagnosis and treatment of thyroid cancers that are unlikely to ever progress to cause symptoms or death, warn experts.

New imaging techniques are fuelling an epidemic in diagnosis and treatment of thyroid cancers that are unlikely to ever progress to cause symptoms or death, warn experts on bmj.com today.

Related Articles


New technologies such as ultrasound, CT and MRI scanning can detect thyroid nodules as small as 2mm -- many of these small nodules are papillary thyroid cancers.

In the US, cases have tripled in the past 30 years -- from 3.6 per 100,000 in 1973 to 11.6 per 100,000 in 2009 -- making it one of the fastest growing diagnoses. Yet the death rate from papillary thyroid cancer has remained stable.

This expanding gap between incidence of thyroid cancer and deaths suggests that low risk cancers are being overdiagnosed and overtreated, argue Dr Juan Brito and colleagues at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

This is exposing patients to unnecessary and harmful treatment that is inconsistent with their prognosis, they warn, and they say both the overdiagnosis and overtreatment of this form of cancer need to be fully recognised.

The article is part of a series looking at the risks and harms of overdiagnosis in a range of common conditions. The series, together with the Preventing Overdiagnosis conference in September, are part of the BMJ's Too Much Medicine campaign to help tackle the threat to health and the waste of money caused by unnecessary care.

The authors say that unnecessary thyroidectomy (the surgical removal of all or part of the thyroid gland) is costly and carries a risk of complications such as low calcium levels and nerve injury. In the US, the number of thyroidectomies for thyroid cancer has risen by 60% over the past 10 years at an estimated cost of $416m (270m; €316m).

Using radioactive iodine in patients with low risk thyroid cancer has also increased from one in 300 patients to two in five patients between 1973 and 2006, despite recommendations against using it, they add.

They acknowledge that inferring overdiagnosis of thyroid cancer has limitations, but say that uncertainty about the benefits and harms of immediate treatment for low risk papillary thyroid cancer "should spur clinicians to engage patients in shared decision making … to ensure treatment is consistent with the research evidence and patient goals."

They suggest a term that conveys favorable prognosis for low risk thyroid cancers (microPapillary Lesions of Indolent Course or microPLIC)) and makes it easier to give patients the choice of active surveillance over immediate and often intensive treatment. And they call for research to identify the appropriate care for these patients.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. P. Brito, J. C. Morris, V. M. Montori. Thyroid cancer: zealous imaging has increased detection and treatment of low risk tumours. BMJ, 2013; 347 (aug27 4): f4706 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.f4706

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Zealous imaging fuelling unnecessary and harmful treatment of low risk thyroid cancers, experts warn." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827204333.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2013, August 27). Zealous imaging fuelling unnecessary and harmful treatment of low risk thyroid cancers, experts warn. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827204333.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Zealous imaging fuelling unnecessary and harmful treatment of low risk thyroid cancers, experts warn." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827204333.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins