Journal scan

Study calls for thyroid cancer test review

Unnecessary imaging tests are being carried out after primary treatment, according to researchers
Thyroid cancer

A study has called for a review of thyroid cancer follow-up practices following concerns that unnecessary imaging tests are being carried out after primary treatment.

Over the past two decades there has been increased incidence of thyroid cancer. During the same period there has also been a growth in imaging after initial treatment.

Researchers in the United States studied a national cancer database and found more than 28,000 patients who had had thyroid cancer between 1998 and 2011. They then monitored use of imaging techniques such as neck ultrasounds, radioiodine scans and PET scans.

Neck ultrasounds, radioiodine scans and PET scans were found to be linked to additional treatment to prevent recurrence, yet only radioiodine scans had improved survival rates.

The authors conclude: In light of the growing incidence of low-risk thyroid cancer and the paradoxical rise in imaging after primary treatment, this study provides the

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A study has called for a review of thyroid cancer follow-up practices following concerns that unnecessary imaging tests are being carried out after primary treatment.

Over the past two decades there has been increased incidence of thyroid cancer. During the same period there has also been a growth in imaging after initial treatment.

Researchers in the United States studied a national cancer database and found more than 28,000 patients who had had thyroid cancer between 1998 and 2011. They then monitored use of imaging techniques such as neck ultrasounds, radioiodine scans and PET scans.

Neck ultrasounds, radioiodine scans and PET scans were found to be linked to additional treatment to prevent recurrence, yet only radioiodine scans had improved survival rates.

The authors conclude: ‘In light of the growing incidence of low-risk thyroid cancer and the paradoxical rise in imaging after primary treatment, this study provides the foundation needed to reassess thyroid cancer surveillance patterns and to curb unnecessary imaging.’

Banerjee M et al (2016) Use of imaging tests after primary treatment of thyroid cancer in the United States: population based retrospective cohort study evaluating death and recurrence. BMJ. doi:10.1136/bmj.i3839

 

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