Socioeconomic Status Linked to More Advanced Thyroid Cancer at Time of Diagnosis

Released: 19-Sep-2012 9:00 AM EDT
Embargo expired: 20-Sep-2012 10:30 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: American Thyroid Association
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Citations 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association

Newswise — Falls Church, Virginia. Sep. 20, 2012—Thyroid cancer among people with lower socioeconomic status is diagnosed at a more advanced stage, according to new data presented at the 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association (ATA) in Québec City, Québec, Canada.

“Socioeconomic status is an important health indicator for a number of cancers and other diseases. These new data shed light on yet another area—the time of thyroid cancer diagnoses—in which there is a need to close to gap on this disparity,” said Elizabeth Pearce, MD, of the Boston Medical Center and Program Co-Chair of the ATA annual meeting.

Though previous studies have suggested a higher rate of thyroid cancer in patients with a higher rate of health insurance and higher socioeconomic status, whether the stage of thyroid cancer at the time of diagnosis varies with socioeconomic status has heretofore been unknown.

A team of researchers led by Stan Van Umm, MD, PhD, of the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada, thus undertook a study to determine the relationship between socioeconomic status and thyroid cancer stage at the time of diagnosis. Using data from the South-Western Ontario from the Canadian Thyroid Cancer Consortium, a large thyroid cancer registry, researchers analyzed 1563 patients who presented between January 1998 and December 2010 with documented thyroid cancer. They determined patients’ thyroid cancer status, sex, and age at presentation, as well as their socioeconomic status based on Canadian Census of Population data for the years 1996, 2001, and 2006.

Upon analysis, researchers found that a lower average household income is associated with a more advanced stage of thyroid cancer at diagnosis. In addition, they also noted that advanced age is also associated with more advanced stage at diagnosis. Finally, using a time-trend analysis, they found that the odds of being diagnosed at a more advanced stage decline by ~4% per year, suggesting that thyroid cancer is being diagnosed earlier over time.

About the ATA Annual Meeting 

The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association is held Sept.19-23, in Québec City, Québec, Canada. This four-day creative and innovative scientific program, chaired by Elizabeth Pearce, MD, Boston Medical Center, and Douglas Forrest, PhD, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, carefully balances clinical and basic science sessions on the latest advances in thyroidology. The ATA meeting is designed to offer continuing education for endocrinologists, internists, surgeons, basic scientists, nuclear medicine scientists, pathologists, endocrine fellows and nurses, physician assistants and other health care professionals. Visit www.thyroid.org for more information.

About the ATA 

The American Thyroid Association (ATA) is the leading worldwide organization dedicated to the advancement, understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disorders and thyroid cancer. ATA is an international individual membership organization with over 1,600 members from 43 countries around the world. Celebrating its 89th anniversary, ATA delivers its mission through several key endeavors: the publication of highly regarded monthly journals, THYROID, Clinical Thyroidology and Clinical Thyroidology for Patients; annual scientific meetings; biennial clinical and research symposia; research grant programs for young investigators, support of online professional, public and patient educational programs through www.thyroid.org; and the development of guidelines for clinical management of thyroid disease. Visit www.thyroid.org for more information.

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