Over-diagnosis of thyroid cancer a problem - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Over diagnosis of thyroid cancer a problem

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- A new study from the Mayo Clinic Center for the Science of Health and Care suggests technology might be too good at detecting cancer.

The study published in the "British Medical Journal" shows an increasing gap between the incidence of thyroid cancer and deaths from the disease. That suggests that low-risk thyroid cancers are being over-diagnosed and over-treated.

The lead author of the study, Juan Pablo Brito, M.B.B.S, says imaging technologies like ultrasounds and MRI's can detect very small thyroid nodules that are slow growing. He says this is exposing patients to unnecessary and harmful treatments that are inconsistent with their prognosis.

To help provide context for patients, Dr. Brito recommends the creation of a new term that describes a favorable prognosis for low-risk thyroid cancers. He says a new term would make it easier for clinicians to offer patients the choice of active surveillance instead of immediate and intensive treatment.

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