Cancer Research News

Sharp Rise in Thyroid Cancer Linked to Modifiable Behavioral or Environmental Factors

“Thyroid cancer is increasing at an alarming rate in the population as a whole,” said CPIC Senior Scientist Pamela Horn-Ross, Ph.D., lead author of the study. “The significant, rapid and continual increase of this cancer throughout the diverse population of California over the last 20 years deserves our attention.”   

Thyroid cancer is now the fifth most common cancer in women, up from 14th most common 20 years ago. The rate of this cancer in women doubled between 1990 and 2005. It increased by 66 percent in men during this time period. 

The researchers conducted a broad study examining 22 years of incidence data across patients of all ages, ethnicities and socio-economic levels.

“We found significant increases in thyroid cancer rates for men and women of all population groups and for all sizes and stages of tumors,” Dr. Horn-Ross said. “While improvements in diagnostic technology most likely account for some portion of this increase, our analysis points squarely to a role for non-genetic factors in our behavior or environment as significantly impacting the continued rise in thyroid cancer rates.” 

“The factor or factors are unknown but are probably modifiable,” said CPIC Scientist Christina A. Clarke, Ph.D., who co-authored the study.  “Armed with a better understanding of how rapidly changing environment or behavior impact the development of thyroid cancer, appropriate changes could be made to mitigate that risk.”


Read the full press release about this study.


Learn more about Christina A. Clarke, Ph.D.

Learn more about Pamela Horn-Ross, Ph.D.


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