Dr. Sosa on Risk Factors for Thyroid Cancer

Partner | Cancer Centers | <b>UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center</b>

Julie Ann Sosa, MD, MA, FACS, FSSO, discusses risk factors for thyroid cancer.

Julie Ann Sosa, MD, MA, FACS, FSSO, chair, Department of Surgery, Leon Goldman, MD Distinguished Professor of Surgery, professor, Department of Medicine, affiliated faculty, Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, discusses risk factors for thyroid cancer.

Individuals with a family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2A or type 2B have an increased risk of developing medullary thyroid cancer, says Sosa. Additionally, papillary thyroid cancer also can run in families in the form of familial papillary thyroid cancer, Sosa adds.

Exposure to radiation in childhood or adolescence is a risk factor for papillary thyroid cancer, anaplastic thyroid cancer, and primary hyperparathyroidism, Sosa explains. Additionally, although rare, iodine deficiency increases one’s chances of developing thyroid cancer, Sosa says.

Although additional research is needed, obesity could be a contributing factor in 20% to 25% of thyroid cancers, Sosa says. Moreover, obesity appears to correlate with more aggressive and larger tumors, Sosa explains.

Finally, environmental exposures to compounds, such as flame retardants, may be associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancers, as well as other malignancies, concludes Sosa.