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April 1959

Carcinoma of the Thyroid at Autopsy

Author Affiliations

Oakland, Calif.; Los Angeles

From the Division of Laboratories, Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, Los Angeles.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1959;103(4):581-589. doi:10.1001/archinte.1959.00270040067007

A number of writers 2-4 have commented on the relatively low incidence of carcinoma of the thyroid in autopsy material in comparison with the frequency with which the diagnosis is made on thyroid glands which are surgically removed. It has been suggested that either the histologic diagnosis of carcinoma is incorrect in some of these cases or the histologic appearance is not matched by biologic aggressiveness. Such assumptions have naturally led to the viewpoint that certain therapeutic measures commonly employed in the treatment of malignant tumors are unnecessary.

The purpose of this report is to give the actual incidence of carcinoma of the thyroid in patients studied at autopsy in a general private hospital. The thyroid glands were routinely removed by residents; they were encouraged to take blocks of tissue from nodules and scars for microscopic examination.

The accompanying Table lists all of the 32 carcinomas of the thyroid encountered