Why News About Thyroid Cancer Screening Doesn't Apply To Breast Cancer

December 1, 2014 4:10 AM

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Recently the New England Journal of Medicine published a perspective on Korea’s Thyroid-Cancer “Epidemic” – Screening and Overdiagnosis. The rate of thyroid cancer has shot up since around 2000. Not surprisingly, the apparent escalation in tumors parallels the availability, affordability and popularity of screening. In South Korea, thyroid cancer diagnoses became 15 times more frequent between 1993 and 2001. Meanwhile mortality from thyroid cancer in South Korea has been constant.

This discrepancy, what amounts to a lack of correlation, strongly suggests that screening doesn’t reduce deaths from thyroid cancer. “The experience with thyroid-cancer screening in South Korea should serve as a cautionary tale for the rest of the world,” the authors wrote. Indeed, the rate of thyro...

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