J Korean Med Assoc.  2015 Aug;58(8):684-687. 10.5124/jkma.2015.58.8.684.

Thyroid cancer screening

  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea. solee@ajou.ac.kr
  • 2National Screening Guideline Developing Committee for Thyroid Cancer, Suwon, Korea.


The reported thyroid cancer incidence rate in Korea has been increasing by 24% per year for the past 10 years. If this were accurate, reducing the sharp increase in thyroid cancer would thus be an urgent public health concern. We cannot accurately estimate the proportion of over-diagnosis of thyroid cancer from screening. However, considering the lack of a notable change in the thyroid cancer mortality rate and that the thyroid incidence rate increased after introducing thyroid cancer screening, it is possible that the wider use of thyroid cancer screening could have been the primary contributor to the increase in the measured thyroid cancer incidence. Evidence on the benefits and harms of thyroid cancer screening is insufficient. To stabilize the thyroid cancer incidence, however, thyroid cancer screening programs for asymptomatic adults should be reconsidered except for screening high-risk individuals or for those prescribed through individual counseling by their physician.


Thyroid neoplasms; Mass screening; Ultrasonography; Incidence
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