(HealthDay News) — For patients with thyroid cancer, those with incidentally discovered (ID) versus non-incidentally discovered (NID) disease are older at presentation, have higher stage disease, and are more likely to be male, according to a review published online Oct. 10 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
Frederick Yoo, from the Pennsylvania State University-Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and colleagues conducted a retrospective medical record review to compare ID thyroid cancer (31 patients), discovered via non-thyroid-related imaging, with NID thyroid cancer (207 patients).
The researchers found that the mean age at diagnosis was significantly different between the groups (56.4 years for ID versus 41.8 years for NID). Males comprised 54.8 percent of patients in the ID group and 13.5 percent of patients the NID group (P < 0.001). Disease stage was significantly higher in the ID versus NID group (P = 0.003). No significant differences were observed with respect to tumor size, invasion, lymph node involvement, or distant metastases.
“Patients with ID thyroid cancer tend to be older at presentation, have higher stage disease, and are more likely to be male compared with patients with NID thyroid cancer,” the authors write. “These findings imply that improved detection may not represent the only cause of the increased incidence of thyroid cancer.”