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Thyroid cancer: Five factors that increase the risk of the disease

2024-02-20T15:41:45.429Z

Highlights: Thyroid cancer: Five factors that increase the risk of the disease. According to estimates by the Robert Koch Institute, around 6,120 people become ill in Germany every year. The likelihood of developing thyroid cancer over the course of your life is generally rather low. High levels of radiation exposure can also occur through contact with radioactive iodine, for example after Chernobyl and Fukushima. Your risk of cancer can increase 25-fold and the cancer can occur after decades after radiation. Can belly fat cause thyroid cancer? According to the German Thyroid Center, abdominal fat is also a risk factor.



As of: February 20, 2024, 4:29 p.m

By: Jasmina Deshmeh

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It is not yet clear why a person develops thyroid cancer.

However, there are scientifically proven factors that increase the likelihood of becoming ill.

Tumors in the thyroid gland can be benign or malignant.

Benign tumors are usually relatively harmless glandular growths.

Malignant tumors usually develop from the epithelial cells, the cells of the gland ducts, and are called thyroid carcinoma.

The causes of this type of cancer are not yet clearly understood.

However, there are factors that increase the risk of the disease.

Thyroid cancer: Age and gender are risk factors

The thyroid is the largest hormonal gland in the body (symbolic image).

© Panthermedia/Imago

Thyroid cancer can occur at any age, but according to

the German Cancer Society (DKG),

in most cases it affects people under 20 or over 50 with a rapidly growing thyroid nodule.

Women are affected about twice as often as men.

Why this is so is still unknown.

The likelihood of developing thyroid cancer over the course of your life is generally rather low: According to

the German Thyroid Center,

thyroid nodules are one of the common diseases

count, thyroid cancer is a rare disease.

Thyroid carcinomas account for less than two percent of all cancers.

According to estimates by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI),

around 6,120 people become ill in Germany

every year.

For comparison: other types of cancer such as breast cancer affect around 69,220 patients every year, and colon cancer affects around 27,890 women and 33,120 men.

Don't miss anything: You can find everything about health in the regular newsletter from our partner 24vita.de.

Thyroid cancer: genetic predisposition

Some tumor forms of thyroid cancer are also genetically determined, as the

German Cancer Research Center

(DKFZ)

informs.

In this case, it is not the tumors themselves that are inherited, but rather the predisposition to cancer.

Those affected then carry these cancer-promoting changes in the genome of all body cells and have inherited them from their parents.

When it comes to thyroid cancer, this particularly affects the rare medullary thyroid carcinoma.

According to

DKG

experts, 30 percent of these tumors can be traced back to genetic changes in the genetic makeup.

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If there have already been cases of thyroid cancer in the family, not all members automatically have an increased risk.

Since the probability of passing on ergbut changes to one's children is 50 percent, statistically only half of the offspring have an increased risk of cancer.

In order for a tumor to develop, additional genetic damage must occur, which only occurs over the course of life.

Thyroid cancer: Iodine deficiency

According to the Professional Association of German Internists (BDI),

iodine deficiency can also

promote thyroid carcinoma.

If the vital trace element is not sufficiently available to the body, the thyroid gland can enlarge (so-called goiter or goiter) and nodules can form.

These previous illnesses in turn increase the risk of thyroid cancer.

Studies show that in areas with poor iodine supply, 20 to 30 percent of people develop thyroid nodules.

However, the same applies here: the risk of thyroid cancer remains low.

Because only about one percent of these nodules are malignant.

Radiation exposure risk factor

Anyone who was treated with X-rays in the neck area as a child or adolescent also has an increased risk of thyroid cancer.

Such therapies are carried out, for example, for malignant diseases such as Hodgkin's lymphoma, but are rare in this country.

High levels of radiation exposure can also occur through contact with radioactive iodine, for example after reactor accidents such as Chernobyl and Fukushima.

The following applies: the higher the radiation exposure, the greater the risk of cancer.

Children are particularly at risk.

Your risk of cancer can increase 25-fold and the cancer can occur decades after radiation.

Can belly fat cause thyroid cancer?

According to the

German Thyroid Center,

abdominal fat is also discussed as a risk factor for the development of thyroid cancer.

Scientists have been studying for a long time to what extent being overweight increases the risk of cancer, as well as many other diseases.

For example, a Korean study with 173,343 participants found that women with abnormal metabolism also have an increased risk of thyroid cancer.

Criteria were recorded such as:

  • Body mass index

  • Blood pressure

  • Blood lipids

  • blood sugar

  • waist size

If three of these values ​​were in the pathological range, the risk of thyroid cancer increased in the female participants.

No connection was apparent in men.

Excess weight and waist circumference alone didn't seem to play a role.

This article only contains general information on the respective health topic and is therefore not intended for self-diagnosis, treatment or medication.

It in no way replaces a visit to the doctor.

Our editorial team is not allowed to answer individual questions about medical conditions.

Source: merkur

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