A risk factor is a characteristic, behavior, or condition that raises the possibility of developing a disease. Medullary thyroid cancer can be hereditary in some cases. Talk to your doctor about genetic testing to find out if you have the gene mutation that causes this form of the disease. Here are some of the major risk factors for developing thyroid cancer.
Most cases of thyroid cancer occur in people between the age of 25 and 65.
Women are at higher risk for thyroid cancer than men. About 75% of all cases of thyroid cancer occur in women.
Inherited Genetic Diseases
Hereditary Medullary Thyroid Cancer is caused by an inherited genetic mutation. If a parent has this genetic mutation, you have a 50% chance of inheriting it. This mutation may increase your risk for developing this form of thyroid cancer.
Exposure to high levels of radiation from an atomic bomb or nuclear reactor accident may increase the risk for developing papillary thyroid cancer. Exposure to high levels of radiation as a small child, possibly from X-rays or radiation therapy, may increase this risk as well.
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