Thyroid Cancer Risk Factors

Updated at: Aug 23, 2012
Thyroid Cancer Risk Factors

Learn to identify the factors that may risk your chances of getting thyroid cancer. Understand why and how you can be prone to this disease.

Arka Roy Chowdhury
CancerWritten by: Arka Roy ChowdhuryPublished at: Aug 23, 2012

Thyroid cancer like any other cancer type is a painful ordeal and like other cancers has its own risk factors. Knowing the factors of getting a particular type of cancer is always good because it lets you know how to stay alert. Even though one can list quite a few factors of this cancerous disease, the two most common types are a family history of thyroid cancer and exposure to radiation.


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Below is a list of the risk factors:


Family History – A person having first degree relatives, second degree relatives and other relatives with this kind of cancer is most vulnerable, in other words, father, mother, sister or brother for first degree. For second degree relatives it would be grandfather, grandmother, granddaughter and grandson. The other group includes multiple family members. These cases of family history are known as familial medullary thyroid carcinoma (FMTC). These can be further recognized as multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN 2). Then further sub types would be called MEN 2a and MEN 2b. Both of these MEN 2a and MEN 2b are caused by mutation. These inherited forms of MCT develop at an early stage or during childhood with MCT being the most aggressive in MEN 2b. Having MEN 2a, MEN 2b or just isolated FMTC running in the family means that you have a high risk of developing the same.


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Exposure to High Levels of Radiation – During the treatment of benign or non-cancerous disease any sort of radiation could help develop thyroid cancer. Medical radiation that used to be the common mode of treatment during the first half of this century is one of the prime factors for thyroid cancer. Because there was a lack of anti-biotic during that time, many people opted for radiation treatments.  Then later when it was found that this is one of the main causes for thyroid cancer, radiation therapy was stopped. Other radiation factors like nuclear war or nuclear plant accidents also cause the same. In this case however, the cancer cell grows very slowly and the patient has ample time to get treated. It is said that after radiation the cell takes good 30 to 40 years to show up prominently.


Low Iodine Diet – This has been found to be yet another factor for getting thyroid cancer. Follicular cancer is common in those areas where the iodine in take is scare. Also, a low iodine diet may lead to papillary cancer if you are exposed to radioactivity.


Learning the factors about thyroid cancer gives you time and reason to understand the disease.


You may also like to read : Different Stages of Thyroid Cancer




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