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Measuring incidence, overdiagnosis and management of thyroid cancer in Ontario

The Story and Impact

""The incidence of thyroid cancer in women is increasing at an epidemic rate in Ontario and worldwide, with evidence suggesting this is due to overdiagnosis and possibly overtreatment.

The study looked at records for all 12,959 adults diagnosed with thyroid cancer in Ontario from 1999 to 2008 and calculated mean annual rate of diagnosis (cases/100,000), for each Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

Respondents who moved to a more walkable area had a 54% lower risk of hypertension than people who moved between two low walkable areas.

  • CCO is using the data to create a disease management pathway for thyroid cancer.
  • LHINs are using comparative data to improve quality and resource allocation.
  • Health planners are using the data to understand practice patterns and identify regions where overdiagnosis may be taking place, in order to improve.
  • Wider system implications: demonstrates how poor evidence and lack of policy on medical tests and treatments can distort physician behaviour, adversely affect patients and increase costs.

The cancer journey graphic

The Scientists


  • Cancer Care Ontario (CCO)
  • South East LHIN

Published in the 2015-16 ICES Annual Report

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