INDIANAPOLIS -- More than 750 Hoosiers are diagnosed with thyroid cancer every year. And now, for 15 percent of these people -- the word cancer will no longer apply. This type of thyroid condition looks like a lump, with cells that may appear worrisome but have not moved outside the lump.
A new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association Oncology outlines the need to down-graded its diagnosis and remove the word carcinoma.
IU School of Medicine Chair of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Dr. Marion Couch says oncologists have long understood that they have been over-treating for this type of thyroid condition.
"When you have the word cancer in a diagnosis it’s very difficult to not remove all of the other tissue," Couch said. "So this very empowering from my point of view, for surgeons to not operate and remove the other side of the thyroid gland."
Patients with this diagnosis previously were treated the same as all thyroid cancer cases. The entire neck organ removed followed by radioactive iodine treatment and a lifetime of follow up and thyroid hormone replacement. Now this 15 percent of patients will only have part of the thyroid removed .
Researchers say it the first time since they know, that a cancer has been downgraded.