Report suggests total thyroidectomies are underused in child cancer patients

A new report published in the latest issue of Annals of Surgical Oncology indicates that although the proportion of young patients undergoing total thyroidectomy (TT) increased by 34 percent between 1985 and 2007, a variety of hospital and patient factors - including disparities in access to surgeons and state-of-the-art care - affect whether a child actually receives this procedure or another less extensive operation, NewsWise reports.

The analysis was done by surgeons who examined data on approximately 8,000 patients - age 21 or younger - with thyroid cancer whose case records were collected by the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) of the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

The overall rate of complications is higher for a repeat thyroid procedure than for most other surgical procedures, and experts believe that having only one thyroid operation is of critical importance. As a result, many surgeons and endocrinologists say that TT - the complete removal of the thyroid gland - is the best care available for treating this condition and preventing a recurrence, according to the media outlet.

Thyroid cancer is the fastest-growing cancer in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society.