Study suggests childhood exposure to radiation may increase thyroid cancer risk

Recent research from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) reveals that children who are exposed to head and neck radiation have a greater risk of thyroid cancer for more than 58 years, compared to those who had no exposure. Researchers wrote that children could receive this type of radiation from cancer treatments or multiple CT scans.

Jacob Adams - lead author and associate professor in the department of community and preventive medicine at URMC - studied the rates of thyroid cancer in patients who were treated with lower-dose chest radiotherapy, for conditions other than cancer, between the years 1953 and 1987.

A total of 50 of the 1,303 irradiated patients had thyroid cancer, compared to 13 of the 1,768 siblings.

"Our findings strongly suggest that those individuals exposed to irradiation from multiple CT scans to the head, neck and chest during early childhood and individuals treated with radiotherapy to the upper body as children have a lifelong increased risk of thyroid cancer," Adams wrote.

It was published in the journal Radiation Research