J Korean Thyroid Assoc.  2015 May;8(1):36-49. 10.11106/cet.2015.8.1.36.

History of Korean Thyroid Association and Recent Debates on Diagnosis and Treatment of Thyroid Cancer in Korea

  • 1Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, National Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. kwlee@catholic.ac.kr


It is an undeniable fact that the establishment of the Korean Thyroid Association (KTA) in 2008 will reinforce growing thyroidology in Korea. It is worthwhile to recall the histories behind the foundation of the KTA and to remember the efforts of the founders. Since 2005, there has been a massive increase in thyroid cancer incidence in Korea, which is much higher than in other countries. A large majority of cases fall into papillary microcarcinoma (less than 1 cm). Much debate has been sparked since early 2014 through mass media as well as among medical professionals on the issues of early screening and detection of small thyroid cancer, overdiagnosis and overtreatment of thyroid cancer. Based on the author's past 30 years of clinical practice in endocrinology with a focus on thyroid disease, this article presents my opinion on such debate and provides thoughts on future directions. This article only represents the author's personal, possibly limited, perspective thought. For this reason, readers are recommended to use their own judgement in weighing the opinions.


Korean Thyroid Association (KTA); Thyroid cancer; Diagnosis; Surgery; Overtreatment
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