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Invited Critique
Sep 2012

Thyroid Cancer Operations for Obese Patients: The Bad News and the Good News

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Section of Endocrine Surgery, University of California, San Francisco.

Arch Surg. 2012;147(9):811-812. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2012.911

Harari and colleagues1 from UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) showed us one more reason to be concerned about the current obesity epidemic—obese patients have more advanced thyroid cancer. The incidence of thyroid cancer has increased in the United States during the past several decades. The reason for this increase is partially earlier diagnosis and partially some as-yet-unidentified environmental risks (radiation perhaps?). This parallel increase in the rates of obesity and thyroid cancer is intriguing, but without a much larger population study, we cannot determine whether obesity causes thyroid cancer. However, the authors found that higher body mass index is associated with a later stage of thyroid cancer.

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