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July 25, 1980

Irradiation to the Head and Neck Area and Thyroid Cancer

JAMA. 1980;244(4):337-338. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310040019017

THIS COMMENTARY is being written in response to the article by Royce et al, entitled "Value of Postirradiation Screening for Thyroid Nodules" (JAMA 242:2675-2678, 1979). The communication comes from principals involved in a workshop on this subject sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, which resulted in the recommendations now brought into question by that article.

One conclusion in the article is that irradiation of the head and neck may not be a causative factor in the development of thyroid cancer. This point of view was emphasized in the accompanying editorial by Robert T. Utiger, MD, in the same issue, entitled "Is External Irradiation a Risk Factor for Thyroid Disease and Thyroid Carcinoma?" (242:2702, 1979). It may create great concern among those patients who have had surgery for a thyroid nodule, possibly discovered as a result of the publicity on this subject during the last five years, and it may deter