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

MeSH Terms

Mass Screening*
Public Health
Thyroid Gland*
Thyroid Neoplasms*


  • Figure 1 Age standardized cancer incidence in Korean women (From National Cancer Information Center. Korea cancer registry statistics 2012 [Internet]. Goyang: National Cancer Information Center; 2014) [1].

Cited by  2 articles

Management of long-term thyroid cancer survivors in Korea
Ji Eun Lee, Aejin Goo, Kyu Eun Lee, Do Joon Park, Belong Cho
J Korean Med Assoc. 2016;59(4):287-293.    doi: 10.5124/jkma.2016.59.4.287.

Analysis of Correlation between Thyroid Cancer Incidence and Socioeconomic Status Using 10-year Sample Cohort Database
Seung Up Yang, Hojin Chang, Chi Young Lim
J Endocr Surg. 2019;19(1):25-33.    doi: 10.16956/jes.2019.19.1.25.


1. National Cancer Information Center. Korea cancer registry sta-tistics 2012 [Internet]. Goyang: National Cancer Information Center;2014. cited 2015 Aug 11. Available from: www.cancer.go.kr/mbs/cancer/jsp/album/gallery.jsp?addCancerTitle=&spage=1&boardId=31817&boardSeq=8471320&mcategoryId=&id=cancer_050207000000.
2. International Agency for Research on Cancer. GLOBOCAN 2012: estimated cancer incidence, mortality and prevalence world-wide in 2012 [Internet]. Lyon: International Agency for Research on Cancer;c2015. cited 2015 Aug 11. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr/Pages/fact_sheets_cancer.aspx.
3. Chen AY, Jemal A, Ward EM. Increasing incidence of differentiated thyroid cancer in the United States, 1988-2005. Cancer. 2009; 115:3801–3807.
4. Pellegriti G, Frasca F, Regalbuto C, Squatrito S, Vigneri R. Worldwide increasing incidence of thyroid cancer: update on epidemiology and risk factors. J Cancer Epidemiol. 2013; 2013:965212.
5. Ahn HS, Kim HJ, Welch HG. Korea's thyroid-cancer "epidemic": screening and overdiagnosis. N Engl J Med. 2014; 371:1765–1767.
6. Brito JP, Morris JC, Montori VM. Thyroid cancer: zealous imaging has increased detection and treatment of low risk tumours. BMJ. 2013; 347:f4706.
7. Smith-Bindman R, Lebda P, Feldstein VA, Sellami D, Goldstein RB, Brasic N, Jin C, Kornak J. Risk of thyroid cancer based on thyroid ultrasound imaging characteristics: results of a population-based study. JAMA Intern Med. 2013; 173:1788–1796.
8. Yi KH, Kim SY, Kim DH, Kim SW, Na DG, Lee YJ, Chung KW, Choi KS, Koh YW, Kim WB, Nam KH, Baek SK, Baek JH, Lee SY, Jung YS, Cho JJ, Ju YS, Dang JY, Kim Y, Lee WC. The Korean guideline for thyroid cancer screening. J Korean Med Assoc. 2015; 58:302–312.
9. Gomella LG, Liu XS, Trabulsi EJ, Kelly WK, Myers R, Showalter T, Dicker A, Wender R. Screening for prostate cancer: the current evidence and guidelines controversy. Can J Urol. 2011; 18:5875–5883.
Full Text Links
  • JKMA
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
Copyright © 2024 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: koreamed@kamje.or.kr