Purpose: Recent recommendations suggest that total thyroidectomy (TT) is the surgical management of choice for differentiated thyroid cancer in children. The objective of this study is to assess trends in extent of surgical resection for differentiated thyroid cancer in children over the past two decades and to identify patient, tumor or hospital factors associated with use of TT. Patients and Methods: Of 8,013 patients (aged 0-21 years) with differentiated thyroid cancer from the National Cancer Data Base (1985-2007), 5,933 (74%) underwent TT. Trends in extent of surgery were examined. Logistic regression was used to identify factors that predict use of TT. Results: Use of TT increased from 50.6% in 1985 to 84% in 2007 (P < 0.001). Patients were more likely to undergo TT if they had higher household income or had private insurance (P = 0.002 and P = 0.037). Patients were more likely to undergo TT if they had larger tumors or if there were nodal metastases present at time of resection (both P < 0.001). After adjusting for patient and tumor factors, patients treated at high-volume or Children's Oncology Group hospitals were more likely to undergo TT than patients treated at low-volume or non-Children's Oncology Group hospitals (P < 0.001). Conclusions: Overall utilization of TT in children with differentiated thyroid cancer has steadily increased over the past 23 years in the USA. Variations in use of TT are not only related to tumor factors including size and nodal involvement, but also are also related to socioeconomic and hospital factors, demonstrating disparities in care.
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