Age may be a major factor in determining thyroid cancer treatment

A recent report from the University of Wisconsin suggests that how thyroid cancer affects patients may vary with age, and treatment should be based on this knowledge, according to EmpowHer.

The researchers discussed several theories as to how this type of cancer affects people of different ages.

For example, in patients who are under 20 years old, thyroid tumors absorb iodine at approximately the same rate as normal thyroid tissue. However, the thyroid absorbs iodine more slowly with age, and thus treatment for a teenager would be different from that of a postmenopausal woman.

Age may also have an effect on gene mutations, which contribute to cancer growth. In addition, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels increase with age, and higher levels of TSH are associated with a risk for thyroid cancer, according to the news source.

Menopausal women experience increases in luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone, which act similarly to TSH and may have an effect on the thyroid. Women of this age group may also have a weaker immune system than younger adults, which can contribute to cancer risk.

About 44,670 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer this year, and about 1,690 will die of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.