Certain communities are at higher risk for thyroid cancer

While thyroid cancer has the potential to affect nearly anyone, researchers have noticed that many forms of thyroid cancer appear in certain populations more than they do others.

One of the most commonly cited divisions among risk groups is the gender gap. Among the estimated 45,000 Americans who are diagnosed with thyroid cancer every year, women are three times as likely as men to have the disease.

An estimated 15 women in every 100,000 will find out they have thyroid cancer in a year, compared to 5 in every 100,000 men, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Age also plays a part in an individual's risk of developing a thyroid carcinoma, although this is not so much a dichotomous division as a spectrum of risk. While just 0.1 percent of yearly thyroid cancer deaths will occur in people 20 years old and under, the NCI estimates that more than 30 percent of these deaths will occur among people between the ages of 75 and 84.

Certain genetic or professional groups also have a higher than average risk of developing thyroid cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic, people who work around radiation or have a family history of goiter are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease.

Likewise, some ethnic, national or geographic groups have a higher likelihood of thyroid cancer. An article published in the UK Independent recently reported that Parsis, an group of Zoroastrians in India, get many kinds of cancer - including that of the breast, prostate and thyroid - more often than other Indians.

Researchers believe the group's susceptibility to cancer may be due to a specific genetic variation.

A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute also found that individuals who live in close proximity to volcanoes are more likely to get cancer of the thyroid, potentially due to toxic ash.

Thyroid cancer detection involves vigilance to any changes in the size of the gland and the state of bodily health, medical authorities say. In the U.S., one in 111 people will be diagnosed with some form of thyroid cancer during their lifetimes.