“Less than 10% of thyroid nodules are malignant”, Dr. García warns of overdiagnosis

There are many factors that can affect the research data, and one of them may be overdiagnosis.

Dr. José García Mateo, past president of the Puerto Rican Society of Endocrinology and Diabetology, SPED. Photo: Journal of Medicine and Public Health.

Dr. José García Mateo, past president of the Puerto Rican Society of Endocrinology and Diabetology, warned that overdiagnosis of thyroid cancer should be avoided, since once nodules are detected, the first option is to use aggressive treatments when investigations indicate less than 10% of these lesions are malignant.

The doctor cited the endocrinology guidelines of the United States, where “patients who have very small nodules, which could have characteristics of cancer, can be diagnosed with sonography, and avoid surgery, are recommended.”

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For the specialist it is crucial importance that the doctor treat the patient who really needs it with a clear individualization of treatment. “Many times it is said that the results of these studies, with these high statistics, are also due to overdiagnosis, which is something that should be avoided.”

For this reason, the endocrinologist emphasized that doctors may have another option to treat those small nodules that do not pose any risk to the patient’s health. Similarly, he commented that through sonography, a complete evaluation of thyroid nodules or cancer that needs treatment can be done.

It is important to highlight that the doctor during the interview was very clear about how overdiagnosis can be inefficient and affect the figures that are currently available, “the prevalence has increased everywhere, however, incidental nodules were found because they did a different evaluation for another diagnosis, most of these nodules are not an emergency,” said Dr. García.

“You have to see the causes that led to this high incidence of cancer in men and women, mostly in women, which is impressive, and obviously we have to investigate more about it, to see if there are specific causes in this population,” he said. .

before the nodule treatment issues thyroid or thyroid cancerthe specialist emphasized how this condition is sought to be treated with less aggressiveness than before, however, if in some cases the treatment needs to be more aggressive, it should be done that way.

On the other hand, Dr. García mentioned that there is no prevention for thyroid problems and autoimmune conditions, however, he highlighted the importance of early diagnosis and prevention of complications that can develop from this disease.

For the early diagnosis of this condition, a physical examination is recommended, which proceeds as follows: “the thyroid gland is like an H and is palpated, then it goes backwards, up and down palpating, after swallowing, and when raising the gland you can palpate the size, without palpating the edges”.

Currently, there are risk factors in the Puerto Rican population, such as obesity and insulin resistance, “because this can increase the probability of malignancy, however, it is recommended to use the health system for a diagnosis sooner of the condition”, commented the specialist.

It is vitally important, as indicated by the expert, that in the event of an anomaly or risk factor, a good diagnosis of the patient is carried out, through physical examination and history, so that a sonography can be done to detect the nodule. affected and give him his respective treatment.

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