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The pill might reduce the risk of thyroid cancer in women

Until the 2000s, the only established risk factor for thyroid cancer was exposure to moderate or high doses of ionising radiation during childhood or early adulthood. In order to better understand all the other factors that may be involved in thyroid cancer risk, a case-control study was conducted in eastern France. The study included 805 cases of thyroid cancer diagnosed between 2002 and 2006, and 876 control individuals. The researchers focused on hormonal and reproductive factors in women (633 cases and 679 controls). According to the results obtained, the risk of developing thyroid cancer was associated with a high number of pregnancies, the use of a drug to suppress lactation, or early age of menarche. Conversely, breastfeeding or a late first pregnancy was associated with a lower risk. The most innovative result of this study relates to the use of the contraceptive pill, which was also associated with a 30-40% reduction in the risk of thyroid cancer in these young women. Interpretation of this result will require better knowledge of the complex relationships that exist between endogenous and exogenous oestrogens, as well as better knowledge of thyroid function.x-ray  illustration of the female thyroid gland


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Florent de Vathaire

Unité Inserm 1018

Tel 01 42 11 54 57 / 06 88 09 31 85



Menstrual and Reproductive Factors in the Risk of Differentiated Thyroid Carcinoma in Young Women in France: A Population-Based Case-Control Study.

Xhaard C, Rubino C, Cléro E, Maillard S, Ren Y, Borson-Chazot F, Sassolas G, Schvartz C, Colonna M, Lacour B, Danzon A, Velten M, Buemi A, Bailly L, Mariné Barjoan E, Schlumberger M, Orgiazzi J, Adjadj E, de Vathaire F.

Am J Epidemiol. 2014