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Clinical Guideline Synopsis
January 2019

Thyroid Cancer Screening After Nuclear Accidents

Author Affiliations
  • 1Head and Neck Service, Department of Surgery, Immunogenomics and Precision Oncology Platform, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2019;145(1):79. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2018.3137

The expert group convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recommended against population thyroid screening following a nuclear accident.1 At the population level—meaning all residents in a geographic region are invited for screening without regard to radiation exposure—the harms of thyroid screening were deemed to outweigh the benefits. Screening would lead to overdiagnosis of a large reservoir of clinically insignificant disease, and would be unlikely to improve outcomes for radiation-induced thyroid cancers, which are highly curable with standard therapy.