Screening ultrasound finds early-stage thyroid cancer

By Kate Madden Yee, AuntMinnie.com staff writer

November 4, 2015 --

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Screening ultrasound is an effective tool for finding early-stage thyroid cancer in asymptomatic populations, according to research to be presented on Monday morning.

A team led by Dr. Jeongin Yoo of Chonbuk National University in Jeonju, South Korea, analyzed ultrasound features of screening-detected thyroid cancer. They found that the majority of these cancers were smaller than 1 cm and showed solid and hypoechoic nodules on ultrasound.

Yoo's group included 1,845 patients who underwent screening ultrasound between March and August 2012. Among these patients, 973 had benign disease, 29 had thyroid cancer (27 confirmed by fine-needle aspiration and two by surgery), 28 had papillary carcinoma, and one had follicular carcinoma.

The cancer cases demonstrated the following features on ultrasound: solid composition (100%), hypoechogenicity (100%), axes longer than they were wide (82.8%), and indistinct margins (86.2%).

The fact that malignant thyroid lesions have particular features on screening ultrasound makes the modality an effective tool for early detection of the disease, the researchers concluded.