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Chinese Study Focuses on Role of Reproductive Factors in the Risk for Thyroid Cancer

By: Joshua D. Madera, MS
Posted: Monday, March 8, 2021

Women who have had their first pregnancy at an advanced age may be at a decreased risk of developing thyroid carcinoma, according to a study published in BMC Women’s Health. These findings were also established in women who had a longer breastfeeding duration, suggesting reproductive factors may play an influential role in the risk for thyroid cancer, explained Min Yu, MD, PhD, of the Zhejiang Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Hangzhou, China, and colleagues. However, further research regarding the specific impact of these factors is warranted.

From 2015 to 2017, a total of 2,261 matched pairs of women with and without thyroid carcinoma were recruited for the study from the Zhejiang Province. All patients underwent physical exams. Any health controls with abnormal triiodothyronine levels, thyroxine, thyroid-stimulating hormones, or suspicion of malignancy were excluded. In addition, patients with thyroid cancer were matched with healthy patients by age, within 3 years, and sex. All patients completed a questionnaire within 2 months of the study.

The authors reported that women who had had their first pregnancy after age 25 were less likely to develop thyroid carcinoma. In addition, women who breastfed for 6 to 12 months (odds ratio = 0.69) or more than 12 months (odds ratio = 0.68) were less likely to develop thyroid cancer than women who breastfed for less than 6 months. Moreover, the study identified factors that were associated with an increased risk for thyroid carcinoma. They included the use of hormone therapy (odds ratio = 2.16) and hysterectomy (odds ratio = 1.71). Further stratification based on body mass index revealed a significantly decreased risk for women who had a later age at first pregnancy (odds ratio = 0.47) and longer breastfeeding duration (odds ratio = 0.49).

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit biomedcentral.com.

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