While most individuals with thyroid cancer have no apparent risk factors, the following factors may be involved: family history of goiter, family history of thyroid disease, female gender, and Asian race. People who have been exposed to radiation therapy to the neck are particularly susceptible to thyroid cancer, including those exposed to low-dose radiation as children and others exposed to high-dose radiation for malignancies. About 25% of individuals who had radiation in the 1950s to shrink an enlarged thymus gland, tonsils, or adenoids develop thyroid nodules; approximately 25% of those with nodules actually develop thyroid cancer (6% of those exposed to neck radiation in the first place). Other causes of thyroid cancer include prolonged secretion of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) because of radiation, heredity, or chronic goiter.
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