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The impact of clinical guidelines on surgical management in patients with thyroid cancer

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alexander PhillipsORCiD, Dr John Fenwick, Dr Ujjal Mallick, Dr Petros Perros


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Aims: Thyroid cancer is an uncommon but highly curable disease if treated optimally. The aim of this study was to determine whether clinical guidelines introduced locally at the beginning of 1999 were associated with better surgical outcome, using radioiodine uptake as a surrogate measure of completeness of thyroidectomy. Materials and methods: We reviewed the medical records of all patients with thyroid cancer referred to a cancer centre (n=176) 3 years before and 3 years after the introduction of guidelines. The uptake of radioiodine in the thyroid bed after thyroidectomy and before radioiodine ablation was used to assess the completeness of primary surgical treatment. Results: The number of new cases referred to our centre increased from 80 in the 1996-1998 period to 94 during 1999-2001. This was largely because of an excess of papillary thyroid cancers. Documentation in the medical records of the pathological primary tumour size improved from 47.5% to 80.8% following the introduction of guidelines. A significant reduction in radioiodine uptake in the thyroid bed was observed following the introduction of guidelines (5.03% +/- 6.82 (SD) vs 2.75% +/- 5.10 (SD); P=0.005). Linear regression analysis of clinical variables indicated that the year of surgery was the only significant factor influencing radioiodine uptake in the thyroid bed (P=0.014). Twelve hospitals within the Northern Cancer Network carried out thyroid surgery for thyroid cancer in the pre-guideline era compared with seven hospitals in the post-guideline era. Surgeons who were members of the regional multidisciplinary thyroid cancer team operated on 35% of cases in the 1996-1998 period and 56.4% in the 1999-2001 period (P<0.01). Conclusions: The introduction of clinical guidelines in 1999 was associated with a reduction in the size of thyroid remnant after primary surgical treatment. This was accompanied by fewer hospitals undertaking thyroid surgery and more patients being operated on by surgeons who were members of the thyroid cancer multidisciplinary team. (C) 2003 The Royal College of Radiologists. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Phillips AW, Fenwick JD, Mallick UK, Perros P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical Oncology

Year: 2003

Volume: 15

Issue: 8

Pages: 485-489

ISSN (print): 0936-6555

ISSN (electronic): 1433-2981

Publisher: WB Saunders Co.


DOI: 10.1016/S0936-6555(03)00195-X


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