Simon Pearce low res

Differentiated thyroid cancer survival, recurrence rates by disease stage and quality of life in the Northern Cancer Network

Simon Pearce, Professor of Endocrinology and Honorary Consultant Endocrinologist, Institute of Genetic Medicine, International Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne


Thyroid cancer causes about 2,500 deaths in the UK every year. International statistics show that the UK has a higher death rate compared to many other European countries. It is unclear why that might be the case, especially since a lot of NHS resources have been allocated to cancer care over the past 20 years. One possible explanation is that very small thyroid cancers (which rarely cause death) are not recorded in UK national statistics. This study will look at death statistics from thyroid cancer with relation to how advanced the cancer was when it was diagnosed. Such information will make it possible to compare with other countries in a more informative and fair way, so that we can understand why there are differences. This is important in planning and improving services for patients with thyroid cancer. Besides surviving from cancer, the quality of life of thyroid cancer patients is important. This study will also find out about quality of life of survivors of thyroid cancer 5 and 10 years after they have been diagnosed. Correlating quality of life measurements with other aspects of the cancer (for example how advanced it was when diagnosed and with some of the treatments) will give us a better understanding of how to treat patients with thyroid cancer in future.