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April 1971

The Natural History of Thyroid Cancer: A Report of 102 Cases Analyzed 10 to 15 Years After Diagnosis

Author Affiliations

Vancouver, British Columbia
From the British Columbia Cancer Institute and the Department of Surgery, Vancouver General Hospital and the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Arch Surg. 1971;102(4):274-277. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1971.01350040036007

One hundred and two cases of thyroid cancer were followed for 10 to 15 years. Most important to the course of the disease was the pathologic type. Least deadly were the low-grade follicular carcinomas; most deadly were the anaplastic carcinomas. In papillary and follicular carcinomas age was significant. Of 45 patients under 40 years of age none died while eight of 28 over 40 are already dead. Invasion of perithyroid tissues evident at the initial surgery but not lymph node involvement had serious import. Conservative operations on the thyroid and lymph nodes were associated with more local recurrences than were radical procedures. However, such thyroid and lymph node recurrences were readily resected. Total thyroidectomy resulted in tetany in four out of 15 patients.