Implementing active surveillance for low-risk thyroid carcinoma into clinical practice: collaborative recommendations for Latin America

Implementing active surveillance for low-risk thyroid carcinoma into clinical practice: collaborative recommendations for Latin America

Alvaro Sanabria, Carolina Ferraz, Chih Hao Chen Ku, Rosalia Padovani, Karen Palacios, José Luis Paz, Alejandro Roman, Anabella Smulever, Fernanda Vaisman, Fabian Pitoia

ABSTRACT

The incidence of thyroid cancer is increasing globally, but mortality rates have remained steady. Many patients with thyroid cancer have low-risk, nonmetastatic intrathyroidal tumors smaller than 2 cm. Active surveillance has shown benefits in these patients, but the adoption of this approach remains below standard in Latin America. The purpose of this article is to identify ways to improve the incorporation of active surveillance into clinical practice for patients with low-risk thyroid carcinoma in Latin America, taking into consideration cultural and geographic factors. Current recommendations include three steps involving patient participation. The first step, which consists of the initial clinical examination, has eight factors requiring special attention. Anxiety must be managed while considering individual, disease-related, cognitive, and environmental aspects. Terms like “overdiagnosis”, “incidentaloma,” and “overtreatment” must be explained to the patient. Implementing precise terminology contributes to adequate disease perception, substantially reducing stress and anxiety. Clarifying the nonprogressive nature of thyroid cancer helps dispel myths surrounding the disease. The second step includes advice about procedures and guidelines for patients who choose active surveillance. Flexible monitoring techniques should be implemented, with regular check-ins scheduled based on patient needs. Reasons for adjusting treatment must be clearly communicated to the patient, and changes in preference regarding active surveillance should be considered in advance. The third step includes assistance during follow-up. Patients must be educated about ultrasound results and receive surgical indications from specialized physicians. The effectiveness of active surveillance can be reinforced by explaining to the patients the dynamics of changes in nodule size using clear and concise visual aids.

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