A new Comment published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology discusses the difficult task of assessing risk factors for thyroid cancer in a context where the role of overdiagnosis is dominant. Dr Salvatore Vaccarella, a scientist in the Section of Cancer Surveillance at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), is the lead author of the Comment.
The authors highlight the need for studies on thyroid cancer risk factors to precisely characterize and account for the role of diagnostic pressure, including detailed individual information on pathways to thyroid cancer diagnosis, particularly for groups in which thyroid cancer is more likely to be overdiagnosed (e.g. young women), and with respect to the appropriateness of practices in thyroid examinations.
The Comment also emphasizes that priority should be given to mitigating the detrimental effects of thyroid cancer overdiagnosis and overtreatment.
Vaccarella S, Dal Maso L.
Challenges in investigating risk factors for thyroid cancer
Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol, Published online 18 December 2020;