Thyroid disease center established to stop over-treatment

Shanghai Thyroid Disease Research Center has been established to guide clinical practice for more precise and individualized treatment.

The Shanghai Thyroid Disease Research Center was established over the weekend to work out a standard to guide clinical practice for more precise and individualized treatment, especially dealing with over-treatment of the disease.

With the development of both life quality and medical equipment, the incidence of thyroid disease in China is rising quickly and is more easily detectable. About 20 to 30 percent of the population is found to have thyroid nodules, among which 2 to 5 percent is thyroid cancer. 

“However, thyroid disease is being over-treated in China — many people with thyroid nodules have received surgery, even though the majority of thyroid nodules don't require intervention,” Dr Qu Shen from Shanghai No.10 People’s Hospital, where the research center is located, said. “Only a very small proportion of people need treatment. Even though it is thyroid cancer, most cases only require regular checkups as opposed to surgery.”

Qu said it is wrong to blindly conduct surgery on all thyroid cancer without further checks. 

“Studies have found that people with thyroid cancer have a similar death rate as those without such cancer. Unnecessary surgery can not improve people’s survival chances, instead it imposes a negative influence on their future life quality,” he said.

The new research center has set up a one-stand procedure that gives patients a detailed checkup, including genetic studies on their thyroid diseases, to identify cancer and decide whether surgery is necessary. 

“We will also perform big data research and set up clinical guidance to regulate thyroid disease treatment across the nation,” he said.

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