Risk factors may influence thyroid cancer's chance of spreading

As rates of thyroid cancer continue to rise in the U.S. and other countries, many adults aim to find what their chances are for developing the condition. EmpowHer reports that thyroid nodules are detected in up to 16 percent of imaging studies performed for other purposes.

Microcarcinomas - microscopic cancer cells - are found in 5.5 to 10.5 percent of patients who have their thyroid glands removed for conditions other than cancer, the media outlet reports. These tumors are found in up to 35 percent of autopsies as well. However, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the incidence of actual diagnosis of thyroid cancer in the U.S. is 0.3 percent for men and 1 percent for women.

The news source reports that the only established risk factor for development of thyroid cancer is exposure to ionizing radiation. However, once thyroid cancer has been diagnosed, factors that indicate risk for growth, recurrence and death, include large tumor size, low uptake of iodine by tumor and family history of the disease, according to the news provider.

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. 

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