Intended for healthcare professionals

Analysis Too Much Medicine

Thyroid cancer: zealous imaging has increased detection and treatment of low risk tumours

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f4706 (Published 27 August 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4706

Re: Thyroid cancer: zealous imaging has increased detection and treatment of low risk tumours

Thyroid cancer incidence is more related to private healthcare expenditure of a country, thus indicating many cancers were incidentally detected during ‘over use’ of medical investigations.(1).

These scan-detected, incidental cancers in asymptomatic patients are likely to behave in a biologically less aggressive manner. The treatment for these cancers can be less aggressive than symptomatic cancers but it needs to be confirmed by clinical studies. The best way to encourage research in all incidental cancers is to adopt a new disease category. Cancers of all anatomical sites, which are detected by opportunistic screening, should be termed as ‘Screenomas’.

Reference:
1. Lee TJ, Kim S, Cho HJ, Lee JH. The incidence of thyroid cancer is affected by the characteristics of a healthcare system.J Korean Med Sci. 2012 Dec;27(12):1491-8

Competing interests: No competing interests

16 September 2013
Santhanam Sundar
Consultant Oncologist
Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust
Nottingham. NG5 1PB