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Income differences in screening, incidence, postoperative complications, and mortality of thyroid cancer in South Korea: a national population-based time trend study

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Authors
Kang, Hee-Yeon; Kim, Ikhan; Kim, Yeon-Yong; Bahk, Jinwook; Khang, Young-Ho
Issue Date
2020-11-11
Publisher
BMC
Citation
BMC Cancer. 2020 Nov 11;20(1):1096
Keywords
IncidenceIncomeMedical overuseOverdiagnosisPostoperative complicationThyroid cancer
Abstract
Background
The incidence of thyroid cancer (TC) has increased rapidly over the past few decades in Korea. This study investigated whether the TC epidemic has been driven by overdiagnosis.

Methods
We calculated the TC screening rate from mid-2008 through mid-2014, and the incidence, postoperative complication, and mortality rates of TC between 2006 and 2015, using data from the Korea Community Health Survey, the National Health Insurance Database, and the cause-of-death data of Statistics Korea. Trends in age-standardized rates of all indicators were examined, along with income gaps therein. Analyses were conducted for lung cancer and stroke as negative control outcomes.

Results
The incidence rate of TC increased from 46.6 per 100,000 to 115.0 per 100,000 between 2006 and 2012, and then decreased to 63.5 per 100,000 in 2015. Despite these remarkable changes in incidence, mortality did not fluctuate during the same period. High income was associated with high rates of screening, incidence, and postoperative complications, while low income showed an association with a high mortality rate. Analyses using negative control outcomes showed that high income was associated with low rates of both incidence and mortality, which contrasted with the patterns of TC. The recent decreases in TC incidence and postoperative complications, which reflect societal concerns about the overdiagnosis of TC, were more pronounced in high-income individuals than in low-income individuals.

Conclusions
The time trends in income gaps in screening, incidence, postoperative complications, and mortality of TC, as well as negative control outcomes, provided corroborating evidence of TC overdiagnosis in Korea.
ISSN
1471-2407
Language
English
URI
https://hdl.handle.net/10371/171655
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1186/s12885-020-07597-4
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College of Medicine/School of Medicine (의과대학/대학원)Health Policy and Management (의료관리학전공)Journal Papers (저널논문_의료관리학전공)
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