Post-Diagnosis Imaging Patterns in Thyroid Cancer

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There is an increase in the use of post-diagnosis imaging among patients with all stages of differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC), according to an article published online in the journal Cancer.

Participants in the survey were identified using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare database.

The study included 23,669 patients diagnosed with localized, regional, or distant DTC between 1991 and 2009.  Using Medicare claims, the use of neck ultrasound, iodine-131 (I-131) scan, or positron emission tomography (PET) scan within 3 years of diagnosis was evaluated.

Results showed that patients diagnosed between 2001 and 2009 were more likely to have a diagnosis of localized disease (P<0.001) and tumors measuring less than 1 cm (P localized disease (P≤0.001 and P =0 .003, respectively), regional disease (P<0.001 and P =0.001 and P = 0.015, respectively).

Overall, patients diagnosed with a form of DTC after 2000 were more likely to use neck ultra sound and I-131 scan (OR = 2.15; 95% CI: 2.02, 2.28 and OR = 0.44; 95% CI: 1.35, 1.54, respectively).

There was a 32.4-fold (P≤0.001) increase in PET scan use in patients with localized disease, a 13.1-fold (P<0.001) in those with distant DTC between 2005 and 2009, compared with patients in 1996 through 2004.

The authors found the largest growth in imaging to be in the use of PET scan after 2004.

PET-CT guided active surveillance results in substantially fewer complications in locally advanced H
There is an increase in the use of post-diagnosis imaging among patients with all stages of differentiated thyroid cancer.
The largest growth noted among differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) diagnosis is in low-risk cancers. Trends in imaging after the diagnosis of DTC are understudied.
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