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There is no way to know for sure if you're going to get thyroid cancer. Certain factors can make you more likely than someone else to get it. However, just because you have one or more risk factors doesn't mean you will get thyroid cancer. In fact, you can have all the risk factors and still not get it. Or you can have no known risk factors and get it.
Certain factors may increase the risk of developing thyroid cancer:
Age: Thyroid cancer occurs more often in people between the ages of 25 and 65 years.
Radiation exposure: People who were exposed to radiation or received radiation treatments to the head and neck during infancy or childhood have a greater chance of developing thyroid cancer. The cancer may occur as early as five years after exposure or may occur 20 or more years later.
Goiter/family history: People who have had goiter (enlarged thyroid) or a family history of thyroid disease have an increased risk of developing thyroid cancer.
Gender: Thyroid cancer is more common in women than in men.
Ethnicity: Asian people have an increased risk of developing thyroid cancer.
Thyroid Cancer Gene
The genes in our cells carry the hereditary information from our parents. Physicians have found an abnormal gene in patients with certain forms of thyroid cancer. If the cancer is medullary thyroid cancer, you may have been born with a certain abnormal gene that may have led to the cancer. Family members may have also inherited this abnormal gene. Learn more about types of thyroid cancer.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.