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What do I need to know about thyroid cancer?

Thyroid cancer is on the rise in America. Its incidence has doubled over the past 40 years. The most common form of thyroid cancer, papillary thyroid cancer, occurs in 80 percent of the cases, and is more common when people hit the mid 40s. Women get it more than men. Though there are no frank or obvious causes, there are some identified risk factors, including:

  • Radiation exposure from fallout from nuclear power plants
  • Radiation exposure from treatment as a child for cancer, and more distantly, for certain chronic conditions like acne
  • Being overweight
  • Having Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease
  • Genetics, a strong family history of the disease
  • Possibly environmental pollutants

Thyroid cancer is currently the number 11 cancer in the US, accounting for approximately 3 percent of all cancers. Thyroid cancer is three to four times more common in women than men. Based on national surveillance data, thyroid cancer is increasing in incidence faster than any other cancer. Between 55,000 and 60,000 people will likely be diagnosed in 2018.

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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.