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Comment & Response
July 2014

Davies and Welch Draw Unfounded Conclusions About Thyroid Cancer From Epidemiological Data

Author Affiliations
  • 1Thyroid Cancer Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014;140(7):678-679. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2014.942

To the Editor In the article by Davies and Welch, “Current Thyroid Cancer Trends in the United States,”1 the authors draw some questionable conclusions and make potentially dangerous suggestions.

Davies and Welch1 assert that the rise in thyroid cancer rates can be attributed to a rise in subclinical papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) tumors discovered incidentally, such as in “serendipitous detection.” They base this solely on statistical analyses of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data. However, at least 2 studies2,3 find 12.4% or less of patients have nodules discovered during imaging for a different purpose.

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