Importance: Elevated incidence rates of thyroid cancer among World Trade Center (WTC)-exposed individuals may be associated with the identification of asymptomatic cancers during medical surveillance. Objective: To examine the association between WTC exposure and thyroid cancer among Fire Department of the City of New York (hereafter, Fire Department) rescue/recovery workers as well as the association with medical surveillance. Design, Setting, and Participants: This closed-cohort study classified the method of detection (asymptomatic and symptomatic) of thyroid cancers in 14987 men monitored through the Fire Department-WTC Health Program diagnosed from September 12, 2001, to December 31, 2018. Age-, sex-, and histologic-specific Fire Department incidence rates were calculated and compared with demographically similar men in Olmsted County, Minnesota, from the Rochester Epidemiology Project using age-standardized rates, relative rates (RRs), and 95% CIs. The secondary analysis was restricted to papillary carcinomas. Exposures: World Trade Center exposure was defined as rescue/recovery work at the WTC site from September 11, 2001, to July 25, 2002. Main Outcomes and Measures: The outcomes evaluated comprised (1) number of incident thyroid cancers and their detection method categorizations in the Fire Department and Rochester Epidemiology Project cohorts; (2) Fire Department, Rochester Epidemiology Project, and Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-21 age-standardized incidence rates of thyroid cancer; and (3) RRs comparing Fire Department and Rochester Epidemiology Project overall and by detection method categorization. Results: Seventy-two post-9/11 Fire Department cases of thyroid cancer were identified. Among the 65 cases (90.3%) with a categorized detection method, 53 cases (81.5%) were asymptomatic and 12 cases (18.5%) were symptomatic. Median (interquartile range) age at diagnosis was 50.2 (44.0-58.6) vs 46.6 (43.9-52.9) years for asymptomatic vs symptomatic cases. Associated primarily with asymptomatic cancers, the overall age-standardized incidence of Fire Department thyroid cancers (24.7; 95% CI, 17.4-52.3) was significantly higher than the Rochester Epidemiology Project (10.4; 95% CI, 8.5-12.7) and Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-21 (9.1; 95% CI, 9.0-9.1) per 100000 person-years. Furthermore, the RR of thyroid cancer among symptomatic men in Fire Department cases was not significantly different from that of men in the Rochester Epidemiology Project (0.8; 95% CI, 0.4-1.5); however, the rate of asymptomatic cancers was more than 3-fold that of the Rochester Epidemiology Project rate (RR, 3.1; 95% CI, 2.1-4.7). Conclusions and Relevance: Excess asymptomatic thyroid cancer in Fire Department WTC-exposed rescue/recovery workers is apparently attributable to the identification of occult lesions during medical surveillance. Among WTC-exposed cohorts and the general population, these findings appear to have important implications for how thyroid cancer incidence rates are interpreted and how diagnoses should be managed.