HealthDay News — According to a final recommendation statement issued by the US Preventative Services Task Force published in JAMA, clinicians should not routinely screen adults for thyroid cancer if they have no symptoms or warning signs of the disease.

The Task Force reviewed the available evidence on the benefits and risks of screening. The panel reaffirmed the guidelines it issued in 1996 and 2016.

While screening for the disease does increase the number of people diagnosed with thyroid cancer, it doesn’t reduce mortality rates associated with the disease, the Task Force concluded.


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“Overdiagnosis occurs because screening for thyroid cancer often identifies small or slow growing tumors that might never affect a person during their lifetime,” Task Force member Seth Landefeld, MD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a statement. 

“People who are treated for these small tumors are exposed to serious risks from surgery or radiation, but do not receive any real benefit.”

References

Lin JS, et al. “Screening for Thyroid Cancer: Updated Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force.” JAMA. 2017;317(18):1888-1903. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.0562

“US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Thyroid Cancer: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement.” JAMA. 2017;317(18):1882-1887. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.4011

Cappola AR. “How to Look for Thyroid Cancer.” JAMA. 2017;317(18):1840-1841. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.4068