The number of surgical operations to treat patients with thyroid cancer fell by almost half over the past three years, the National Health Insurance Service said on Sunday.
From 2012 to 2015, the number of operations to treat the cancer saw the biggest drop of any of the 33 major types of surgery performed during the period. The figure shrank to 28,214 cases last year after peaking at 51,513 cases in 2012.
In 2011, 81 in every 100,000 people were diagnosed with thyroid cancer. At more than 10 times the global average, this raised concerns of over-diagnosis by ultrasound.
Even in cases where thyroid cancer is diagnosed, many doctors now advise against surgery in favor of closer monitoring of the development of the patient’s condition.