Thyroid cancer is the most common malignancy in Korea; in 2012, about 44,000 new cases (19.6% of all malignancies) were registered and the estimated age-standardized incidence rate of thyroid cancer was 73.6 per 100,000 (17.3 and 88.6 per 100,000 in men and women, respectively). Despite the steep increase in its incidence, the age-standardized mortality rate of thyroid cancer has remained stable and 10-year relative survival rate is 99.2%. Increased detection using high-resolution ultrasonography may have contributed to the increased incidence of thyroid cancer if not all. However, the effectiveness of thyroid cancer screening using ultrasonography has not been fully evaluated as to whether screening and early diagnosis could decrease the morbidity or mortality of thyroid cancer. A multidisciplinary expert committee for developing a guideline for thyroid cancer screening was organized and established a recommendation for thyroid cancer screening using ultrasonography in Korea based on scientific evidence for the first time. In conclusion, the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of the thyroid cancer screening by ultrasonography and the recommendation is that thyroid ultrasonography is not routinely recommended for healthy subjects.
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