Study shows secondary thyroid tumors more deadly in young people

A study in the February 24 issue of Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, indicates that adolescents and young adults who develop thyroid cancer secondary to another type of cancer have a 6.6-times greater risk of mortality than patients with primary thyroid cancer.

The researchers—Melanie Goldfarb, MD, FACS, assistant professor, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, and David Freyer, DO, MS, Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles—used the American College of Surgeons National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) to identify 41,062 patients, ages 15 to 39, diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1998 through 2010. Of those patients, 3.3 percent had thyroid cancer as secondary malignant neoplasms.

Thyroid cancer is one of the five most common malignancies in adolescent and young adult patients. The researchers stress the importance of screening young cancer survivors to detect early signs of a potentially life-threatening thyroid malignancy.

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