Editorials

Managing differentiated thyroid cancer

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7344.988 (Published 27 April 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:988

Better management can improve survival in this curable cancer

  1. Pat Kendall-Tayloremeritus professor of endocrinology and chairman of British Thyroid Association guidelines working group. ([email protected])
  1. Medical School, University of Newcastle, Newcastle on Tyne NE2 4HH group

    Although differentiated thyroid cancers are not common, they are as common as cervical cancer and multiple myeloma and are the commonest malignant endocrine tumours. Furthermore, they are among the few curable cancers. When managed according to best practice the vast majority of patients can expect cure, so good management is mandatory. Five year survival rates for adults with thyroid cancer in England (64% for men, 75% for women) are below the European average (72% for men, 80% for women).1 This reflects the general position that patients with cancer in the United Kingdom suffer more delays and have worse survival than in many other European states.2 The British Thyroid Association has recently produced guidelines on managing differentiated (papillary and follicular) thyroid cancer and medullary thyroid cancer.3 The aim of the guidelines is to improve long term overall and disease free survival, enhance patients' health related quality of life, and improve referral pattern and management of patients with thyroid cancer.

    The annual reported incidence of thyroid cancer in Britain is 2.3 per 100 000 women and 0.9 per 100 000 men (data from the Scottish Cancer …

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