The detection of low-risk thyroid carcinoma has increased in recent decades, although disease-specific mortality remained without changes. The high prevalence of occult carcinomas in autopsy studies, and hence the underlying indolent course of this entity, prompted the emergence of active surveillance as an alternative approach to these tumors. This strategy aims to recognize the minority group of patients who will develop clinical progression and probably benefit from deferred surgery. Experience around the world has shown that during active surveillance these tumors are mostly unchanged in size, with very-slow growth and even a decrease in diameter. Moreover, the rates of lymph node metastases were low and easily handled by rescue surgery, and distant metastases have not been reported. Given the high prevalence of small thyroid carcinomas and the excellent outcomes for observation, active surveillance provides a safe and feasible alternative in properly selected patients with low-risk thyroid cancer.
Keywords Active surveillance, Low risk, Papillary thyroid carcinoma, Observation, Papillary thyroid microcarcinoma, Thyroid cancer, Indeterminate thyroid nodules