Thyroid Cancer: Latest Approaches to Canada’s Fastest Growing Cancer

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Alon Vaisman
Steven Orlov
Jonathan Yip
David Orlov


Thyroid, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroidectomy, Thyroglobulin


Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrinological malignancy worldwide and its incidence is increasing faster than for any other cancer. The majority of this increase has been in well differentiated thyroid carcinoma (WDTC) which comprises 90% of all thyroid malignancies. Recent advances in the diagnosis, surgical treatment, and long-term monitoring have enhanced the detection of primary and recurrent disease, as well as treatment modalities. These developments have prompted institutions to revise their guidelines on the management of thyroid disorders. In the diagnosis of thyroid nodules, recommendations have been made regarding initial evaluation, use of TSH and radionuclide studies, clinical and ultrasound criteria for fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB), and the interpretation of FNAB results. Thyroidectomy (removal of gross thyroid tissue) and lymph node dissection have been established as efficacious initial therapies to reduce disease recurrence although the extent of surgical resection is hotly debated. Following surgical therapy, appropriate use of radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy to destroy microscopic disease is discussed, including its controversial use in low-risk patients. Guidelines for long-term management include recommendations on the use of TSH suppression therapy, surveillance of recurrent disease using ultrasound and serum thyroglobulin, and the treatment of recurrent/metastatic disease. Here, we review the recent developments and recommendations in the management of WDTC.