There is no doubt that there has been a rapid increase in people found to have thyroid cancer. But a study at Dartmouth shows that there’s a thyroid complication you need to avoid.
The dilemma, say the Dartmouth scientists, is that many of the thyroid cancers doctors discover are too insignificant to be worthy of treatment. The tiny growths would never enlarge enough to be dangerous.
But doctors are treating them anyway.
“We did the study to understand who is at risk of being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which is now — like prostate cancer — recognized to be a disease that is commonly overdiagnosed,” says researcher Louise Davies.
Overdiagnosis occurs when a doctor identifies a cancer that doesn’t need to be eliminated.
“The findings are counterintuitive for many: having good health insurance puts you at risk for something bad — the unnecessary identification and treatment of a cancer that was never destined to cause a problem,” says Davies.
So if your doctor says you have thyroid cancer and wants to treat it, get a second opinion. The cancer may or may not need to be addressed.