Causes of Thyroid Cancer
There is often no definitive cause of thyroid cancer. It’s a combination of genetics and environmental factors. However, listed below are a few known risk factors for developing thyroid cancer:
Radiation exposure—from previous medical treatments or from environmental disasters like power plant accidents or nuclear explosions—is a known risk factor for developing thyroid cancer. Head and neck radiation treatments during childhood have been associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer; this risk is higher for larger doses and younger ages of a patient at the time of radiation treatment.
People with at least 2 first-degree relatives diagnosed with thyroid cancer are at an increased risk of developing thyroid cancer themselves. This risk factor applies to people regardless of whether or not they have a known genetic syndrome associated with thyroid cancer.
Inherited Medical Conditions
Patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), Cowden disease, or Carney complex type I may be at an increased risk of developing papillary or follicular thyroid cancer.
Although most people in Australia obtain enough iodine in their diet due to iodised table salt and other food products that contain iodine, low-iodine diets are common in other parts of the world. Diets low in iodine may increase the risk of follicular and papillary thyroid cancer, especially if a person has also experienced some radiation exposure.