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25 May 2020

New IARC study on global expansion in overdiagnosis of thyroid cancer

A new study led by scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in collaboration with the Aviano National Cancer Institute in Italy, highlights the rapid expansion of the epidemic of thyroid cancer overdiagnosis in a wide range of countries worldwide, including several diverse and densely populated middle- to high-income countries undergoing rapid socioeconomic transition. The study was published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

The scientists analysed the most up-to-date, high-quality data from population-based cancer registries in 26 countries on four continents. They found that the incidence of thyroid cancer continued to increase from 1998–2002 to 2008–2012 in all of the countries analysed. Overall, more than 1 million people (830 000 women and 220 000 men) might have been overdiagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2008–2012 in the 26 countries analysed.

Overdiagnosis is the diagnosis of a tumour that would not progress to cause symptoms or death in an individual’s lifetime. Overdiagnosis of thyroid cancer affects predominantly middle-aged women.

Li M, Dal Maso L, Vaccarella S
Global trends in thyroid cancer incidence and the impact of overdiagnosis
Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol, Published online 20 May 2020;
https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(20)30115-7

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Publication status

Published in section: IARC News

Publication date: 25 May, 2020, 0:43

Direct link: https://iarc.fr/news-events/new-iarc-study-on-global-expansion-in-overdiagnosis-of-thyroid-cancer/

© Copyright International Agency on Research for Cancer 2020
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