A team of international pathologists and clinicians have reclassified a certain type of thyroid cancer and declared it noncancerous.
A team of international physicians have reclassified a certain type of thyroid tumor and taken it out of the category of cancers. The physicians have explained that thyroid cancer does not tend to spread and its chances of recurrence are also slim. Therefore, they have decided to downgrade it to noncancerous.
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With this change of status, thousands of those patients who are recommended to remove their thyroids and pushed towards treatment with radioactive iodine or regular checkups for the rest of their lives can take a sigh of relief because this tumor is not a cancer anymore. So, it is not as bigger threat as it was initially assumed.
The reason why thyroid tumor has been reclassified is the rising detection of thyroid tumor cases especially a certain type of tumor called encapsulated follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma (EFVPTC) that has been increased two to three times in the past 20 years and has been affecting thousands of people in terms of long, nerve wracking and costly treatment. EFVPTC is not dangerous and does not require intense therapy but it is treated as aggressively as some of the other type of thyroid cancer.
“This phenomenon is known as overdiagnosis,” said senior investigator Dr. Yuri Nikiforov from University of Pittsburg. “To my knowledge, this is the first time in the modern era a type of cancer is being reclassified as a non-cancer. I hope that it will set an example for other expert groups to address nomenclature of various cancers types that have indolent behavior to prevent inappropriate and costly treatment.”
The campaign to reclassify thyroid tumor from cancer to noncancer was started couple of years ago when researchers realized that EFVPTC is just a small lump in thyroid that is encased in fibrous tissue and is not harmful unless it is not broken out of the capsule. Removing it through surgery and later treating it with radioactive iodine is unnecessary and can prove harmful later in life.
Researchers observed the medical data of more than 200 patients who had been diagnosed with EFVPTC and were followed for at least 10 years. None of those patients whose tumors stayed within their capsules had any evidence of cancer in that period of time. But some of those patients whose tumors had broken out of their capsules faced complications despite the treatment. Researchers agreed that those encapsulated tumors will not be classified as cancer.
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“Thyroid tumors currently diagnosed as noninvasive EFVPTC have a very low risk of adverse outcome and should be termed NIFTP. This reclassification will affect a large population of patients worldwide and result in a significant reduction in psychological and clinical consequences associated with the diagnoses of cancer.” Study concludes.