The management of thyroid cancer includes multiple medical specialties. Physicians from different specialties may vary in opinion regarding the optimal investigation and treatment of patients. Little data exist evaluating the differences within or between various specialties treating thyroid disease. This study aims to examine responses from a variety of specialty physicians closely involved in the medical or surgical management of thyroid disease to provide evidence as to whether any difference exists.
A cross-sectional survey of attendees at the 5(th) Biennial Course on the Management of Thyroid Nodular Disease and Cancer was conducted using an anonymous electronic touch pad system. Touch pads were given to 213 attendees who were asked to respond to 44 questions. This study analyzes the responses obtained from 19 selected questions (43%) and compares the results between endocrinologists (n = 48), general surgeons (n = 41), otolaryngologists (n = 61), and pathologists (n = 20).
Responses were obtained from 69% of endocrinologists, 68% of general surgeons, 72% of otolaryngologists, and 65% of pathologists. Statistically significant interspecialty differences were observed in 12 (63%) of 19 questions. Each question and a summary of responses from all touch pads were recorded.
Significant differences in the attitudes toward, and presumably the practice of, managing thyroid nodular disease and cancer exist between specialties. An understanding of these differences is helpful when working as a multidisciplinary team to optimize patient care.