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Can you "catch" thyroid cancer? Is it contagious? The answer is "no". There is no exact causes of the cancer and doctors cannot explain why one person gets the disease and another does not. Research has shown though that there are some factors for certain people that will put them at risk, that is, increasing their chances of developing thyroid cancer. These are some of the risk factors that have been associated with developing the disease: Having been exposed to radiation. These people have an increased risk of developing papillary or follicular thyroid cancer. From the 1920's to 1950's, children were treated with high doses of x-rays for enlarged tonsils. There was also radioactive fallout that occurred in the world in the 1950's and 1960's. If you were a child and were affected by such exposure during these times, you are at a higher risk. Family history of the altered RET gene. This gene passed down from parent to child may be the cause of medullary thyroid cancer. If it is known that this gene or this type of cancer runs in the family the doctor may order more frequent blood work and even removal of the thyroid gland before the cancer develops. Being a female puts you at a risk of two to three times more likely than a male. Being over the age of 40 is when most patients are diagnosed with the disease. This does not mean that you cannot be diagnosed with this cancer at a younger age. The disease does occur in children. The most uncommon and hardest to treat type of this disease, anaplastic thyroid cancer, strikes patients that are over the age of 65. Your race may put you at risk. The white people are more likely to develop this disease than the African Americans. Lack of iodine in your diet. This risk is less in America because iodine is added to our table salt. Because iodine is needed by the thyroid gland to produce hormones, in countries where iodine is lacking in the diet, the risk of this cancer is much higher.

If you have one or all of these risks you will not necessarily develop cancer of the thyroid gland; on the other hand you may have none of these risk factors and still develop the disease. With this said stressing the importance of annual checkups and self awareness is an understatement. Know your body, be alert for changes that occur and educate yourself. It is also important not to put added risk on your body, such as having repeated and unnecessary exposure to x-rays.

When I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, the two risk factors I had were being white and a

female. I would never of thought that those two factors would go against me. After much research of this condition, I found that sometimes we just never know what can be our risk. For more risks of cancer of the thyroid gland and much more information please go to

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