Thyroid Cancer Screening and Overdiagnosis in Korea

Hyeong Sik Ahn, Hyun Jung Kim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Thyroid cancer incidence has increased worldwide. The country where the incidence has increased most is Korea. The strong association between thyroid cancer screening and the incidence of thyroid cancer suggests that screening is the most important factor in the epidemic of thyroid cancer. Other evidence for increased detection is widespread use of ultrasonography and fine-needle aspiration cytology, the concentrated increase in small-sized carcinomas, particularly papillary carcinoma. Because thyroid cancer screening did not have association with a decrease in thyroid cancer mortality, the observed rise in thyroid cancer incidence has raised concerns around overdiagnosis. Increased detection due to screening results in more harm than benefit in terms of psychological stress, unnecessary surgery, and financial burden. The fact that thyroid cancer screening is converting a substantial number of asymptomatic persons to cancer patients without benefit merits serious consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThyroid Cancer and Nuclear Accidents
Subtitle of host publicationLong-Term Aftereffects of Chernobyl and Fukushima
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780128127698
ISBN (Print)9780128127681
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 31


  • Korea
  • Overdiagnosis
  • Screening
  • Thyroid cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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