Stating that there are a number of unnecessary thyroid biopsies being conducted in the US, researchers led by UC San Francisco have called on for a simplification of clinical guidelines that govern the need for biopsy thyroid nodules for cancer.
Writing in the report, published in the JAMA Internal Medicine, the researchers said that over 98 percent of the thyroid ultrasound scans conducted on nearly 8,800 patients that they analyzed resulted in the nodules being benign and not malignant cancers.
The researchers added that guidelines should be simplified so that biopsies should be conducted only when medical imaging reveals a thyroid nodule with microcalcifications, tiny flecks of calcium, or if it is more than 2 centimeters in diameter and completely solid.
"Right now, we're doing far too many thyroid biopsies in patients who are really at very low risk of having thyroid cancer. Compared with other existing guidelines, many of which are complicated to apply, following these simple, evidence-based guidelines would substantially decrease the number of unnecessary thyroid biopsies in the United States", lead author of the study, Dr Rebecca Smith-Bindman said.