Thyroid Cancer

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Preventing thyroid cancer is in many cases impossible, but certain steps may reduce the risk.

Exposure to X-rays is a proven cause of thyroid cancer, and young children may be most at risk. Therefore, it may be wise to minimize X-rays in children.

Although it is typically not a problem in the United States, people should consume a diet that contains iodine. Foods with iodine include fish, shellfish, eggs, dairy products, onions, radishes, potatoes, bananas, parsley, and kelp. In the United States, most table salt contains iodine.

If a family member had or has medullary thyroid cancer and is found to have the familial form of the disease, siblings, children and parents should be tested at an early age to see if they have inherited a gene that makes thyroid cancer more common. If they have the gene, they may opt to have the thyroid surgically removed to lessen the risk of cancer.

Last reviewed on 6/4/09

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