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What is hereditary thyroid cancer?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Hereditary thyroid cancer is thyroid cancer that develops in people who have inherited damage to certain genes. People with inherited damage to their RET gene develop medullary thyroid cancer and have a hereditary cancer syndrome called multiple endocrine neoplasia, type II. 

People with mutations on their PTEN gene have an increased risk (about 10%) of usually follicular, and sometimes papillary thyroid cancer. Women with PTEN gene mutations also have an increased risk for breast and uterine cancer. There are other hereditary cancer syndromes that are associated with a small but increased risk for thyroid cancer. 

People with hereditary thyroid cancer can pass the gene mutation on to their children. It is important that people at risk for hereditary thryoid cancer have interventions to reduce their risk for thyroid cancer. Interventions include preventative surgery to remove the thyroid, or in other cases more frequent clinical examination of their thyroid.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.