USPSTF on Asymptomatic Thyroid Cancer: Do Not Screen Population

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The USPSTF recommends against population-wide screening for asymptomatic thyroid cancer.
The USPSTF recommends against population-wide screening for asymptomatic thyroid cancer.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against population-wide screening for asymptomatic thyroid cancer, according to a release.1

The USPSTF estimates that thyroid cancer will account for only 3.8 of cancers diagnosed in the United States in 2016. The benefits are, furthermore, outweighed by the harms of screening and treatment, which can leave patients with debilitating, lifelong health problems.

In the press release, Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, PhD, MD, MAS, chair of the Task Force, said: “…widespread screening for thyroid cancer is likely to result in overdiagnosis…People who are treated for small or slow-growing tumors are exposed to risks from surgery or radiation, but do not receive any benefit because the tumors are unlikely to affect the person's health during their lifetime.”

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Overdiagnosis is, according to this release, a serious issue in population-wide screening for thyroid cancer.

This recommendation is a draft for which comments will be open until December 26, 2016. Comments will be considered until this date, which may affect the final USPSTF recommendation. Individuals interested in commenting on this draft recommendation should visit the USPSTF's draft recommendation page.

Reference

  1. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Seeks Comments on Draft Recommendation Statement on Screening for Thyroid Cancer. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Home/GetFile/6/250/thyroid-screening-bulletin/pdf. Published November 22, 2016. Accessed December 15, 2016.

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