UCLA study finds advanced thyroid cancer rate in some California counties is well above national averageTo investigate the possibility of environmental impacts as a predisposition for thyroid cancer, we sought to identify counties in California with possible geographic clustering of advanced thyroid cancer cases. We recently published our findings in the Journal of Surgical Research. – See more at: http://www.journalofsurgicalresearch.com/article/S0022-4804(15)01062-8/abstract
The research was led by Dr. Avital Harari, a member of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and assistant professor of surgery.
Approximately 63,000 people were diagnosed with thyroid cancer nationwide last year, and according to the National Cancer Institute, the incidence of thyroid cancer has increased across racial, ethnic and gender lines over the past several decades. When detected early, thyroid cancer is treatable and even curable. However, survival rates are much lower for people who are diagnosed at advanced stages of the disease.
We have noted an unusually high rate of advanced thyroid cancers presenting from across California. We examined the rates of thyroid cancer presentation throughout California for potential geographic clustering.
There was no obvious clustering of advanced cases within certain regions in California; however, on average, the entire state of California had significantly higher rates of distant metastatic thyroid cancer (6.73%) and RM (34.92%) than the national SEER averages (4%, 29%, respectively, P < 0.001). Of the 47 California counties, 20 had significantly higher percentages of distant metastatic thyroid cancer than the national SEER average (range, 6%–13% versus 4%, P < 0.05), and 20 had a higher percentage of RM than the national SEER average (range, 35%–48% versus 29%, P < 0.05). Two California counties had higher rates of young patients with well-differentiated thyroid cancer (range, 14.29%–17.9%) than the national SEER average (12%).
California exhibits more advanced thyroid cancers than the national SEER population average. Further studies are warranted to better understand etiologies for these disparities, which may include environmental impacts and/or delays in diagnosis.