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Thyroid cancer treatment varies by hospital, U-M study finds
Date:8/16/2011

e iodine treatment is being used more frequently overall 40 percent of patients in 1990, compared to 56 percent of patients in 2008. Size and severity of the tumor did impact a patient's likelihood to have radioactive iodine, accounting for about 21 percent of the variation in care. In addition, factors such as whether the hospital saw a high volume of thyroid cancer patients played a role. But 29 percent of the variation between whether patients received radioactive iodine was attributable to hospital factors that could not be explained.

"Even among people who are high risk and the guidelines are clear that these patients should receive radioactive iodine there is still variation. This suggests doctors are unclear about the indications for radioactive iodine. We need randomized clinical trials that look at radioactive iodine in low-risk patients so that we can set better guidelines for its use," Haymart says.

Radioactive iodine treatment can have long-term side effects, including risk of a second cancer or damage to nearby tissue such as salivary glands. In addition, safety precautions need to be taken when the treatment is delivered, requiring patients to stay away from young children for a week and avoid becoming pregnant for up to a year after treatment.

Thyroid cancer statistics: 44,670 Americans will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer this year and 1,690 will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society


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Contact: Nicole Fawcett
nfawcett@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert  

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