No, there isn’t any epidemic. What we do have is a dramatic increase in attempts to diagnose thyroid cancer.
The American Cancer Society reports thyroid cancer has more than doubled in the last thirty years making it “the most rapidly increasing cancer in the U.S.” However, experts believe this is a misleading number, and the main reason for the reported increase is the dramatic increase of using thyroid ultrasound testing that finds small nodules that might otherwise never be noticed.
The good news is, “most cancers don’t need treatment because they grow slowly, or not at all” says H. Gilbert Welch, M.D. a professor of medicine at Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and author of Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health”
You do not need a thyroid ultrasound unless you have certain risk factors such as family history of thyroid cancer or if you or your doctor notice a lump. Often times the nodule is very small, less than one centimeter and you can just monitor it and avoid surgery.