90: The Results of 30 Years of Patients Receiving Active Surveillance Instead of Surgery → Dr. Akira Miyauchi from Kuma Hospital in Kobe, Japan

The result of over 1000 cases of active surveillance shows no resulting deaths of patients who choose no surgery for thyroid cancer

Dr. Akira Miyauchi

Professor Akira Miyauchi (Figure 1) is President and COO of Kuma Hospital, Center of Excellence in Thyroid Care, Kobe, Japan. He is a Japanese endocrine surgeon, and a pioneer in active surveillance, and visionary in regard to treatment of thyroid cancer.  World renowned researcher, and lecturer. As the associate professor of the Department of Surgery, Kagawa Medical University, he proposed and initiated a clinical trial of active surveillance for low-risk papillary micro cancer in collaboration with Kuma Hospital in 1993. In 2001, he was appointed the President of Kuma Hospital. Since then, he has been keen on the study of evaluating treatments for papillary micro cancer, observation versus surgery.

During this episode, the following topics are discussed:

  1. Financial burden of surgery versus total cost of active surveillance over ten years.
  2. Stretching Exercises for Neck
    Setting patient expectations prior to FNA to manage anxiety
  3. When the laryngeal nerve is severed during thyroid surgery, it can and should be repaired, with proper surgeon skill and training.
  4. Rather than being stationery and immobile, patients should practice neck stretching exercise within 24 hours proceeding surgery.  There should be no fear about separating the incision.
  5. Total cost of surgery is 4.1x the cost compared to the cost of active surveillance.  In the U.S., the cost is higher.
  6. Incidence versus mortality
  7. Worldwide trends related to thyroid cancer
  8. Papillary Microcarcinoma of the Thyroid (PMCT)
  9. Unfavorable events following immediate surgery
  10. Results of research which began in 1993
  11. The current trend in the incidence of thyroid cancer is expected to create an added cost of $3.5 billion by 2030, to the individual and as a society.

By providing patient an active surveillance brochure prior to FNA, they are more open to not proceeding with surgery for small thyroid cancer management.

Patient voice restores to near normal when repair of laryngeal nerve is done correctly.  All surgeons should be executing this to perfection.

When doing next stretches one-day post surgery, patients report feeling much better and less pain, even one year after surgery.

Protocol for delaying surgery depends on the patient’s age.  Older patients are less likely to require surgery.  75% of patients will not require surgery for their lifetime.

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