The recent rise in the incidence of thyroid cancer is due to the increase in identification of low-risk papillary thyroid cancers. Most of these small, low-risk thyroid cancers (tumors < 1 cm) do not grow or grow very slowly. A new management strategy for low-risk thyroid cancers, called Active Surveillance, may be the optimal first line of treatment for adult patients with low-risk thyroid cancers.
Active Surveillance is the observation of cancer without immediate surgery. Although surgery for low-risk thyroid cancers is not difficult, surgery can come with complications such as permanent vocal cord paralysis. Recent research has demonstrated that Active Surveillance can be used safely for adult patients with low-risk thyroid cancer. We aim to investigate the psychological impact of active surveillance, as well as what patients are better suited for active surveillance and how we can manage decision regret in this patient population.