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Comment & Response |

Davies and Welch Draw Unfounded Conclusions About Thyroid Cancer From Epidemiological Data

Rita Banach, BSc, DCS1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Thyroid Cancer Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014;140(7):678-679. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2014.942.
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To the Editor In the article by Davies and Welch, “Current Thyroid Cancer Trends in the United States,”1 the authors draw some questionable conclusions and make potentially dangerous suggestions.

Davies and Welch1 assert that the rise in thyroid cancer rates can be attributed to a rise in subclinical papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) tumors discovered incidentally, such as in “serendipitous detection.” They base this solely on statistical analyses of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data. However, at least 2 studies2,3 find 12.4% or less of patients have nodules discovered during imaging for a different purpose.

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July 1, 2014
Louise Davies, MD, MS; H. Gilbert Welch, MD, MPH
1VA Outcomes Group, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, White River Junction, Vermont2Section of Otolaryngology in Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire3Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Hanover, New Hampshire
3Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Hanover, New Hampshire
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014;140(7):679. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2014.948.
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