MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A study by the Mayo Clinic finds that thousands of patients are “over-diagnosed” with thyroid cancer.

Researchers say small lesions on the thyroid gland that went undetected decades ago are now being found with high tech imaging and that’s prompting cancer diagnoses and surgeries that are expensive and unnecessary.

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“What is very concerning is that these patients are actually over-treated,” said Dr. Juan Brito, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

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Brito is even recommending a new name for the small lesions, to avoid cancer diagnoses for thousands of patients who would be better off waiting to see what happens instead undergoing operations that are costly and have no benefit.

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The Mayo study appears in the current issue of the British Medical Journal.