Thyroid cancer

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Reducing your risk for thyroid cancer

You may lower your risk of developing thyroid cancer by doing the following.

Maintain a healthy body weight

Research has shown that being obese increases the risk of thyroid cancer. You may lower your risk by having a healthy body weight. Eating well and being physically active can help you have a healthy body weight.

Avoid unnecessary radiation exposure

Talk to your doctor or dentist about the need for each imaging test and the use of shields to protect the head, neck and body areas during an imaging test like an x-ray.

Eat vegetables and fruit

Eating a variety of vegetables each day probably protects against thyroid cancer.

Cruciferous vegetables belong to the cabbage family and include broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Some studies have shown eating very large amounts of cruciferous vegetables may increase the risk of developing thyroid cancer. Other studies show that cruciferous vegetables may not be any different than other types of vegetables.

Find out if you’re at high risk

Some people have a higher than average risk for thyroid cancer. Talk to your doctor about your risk. If you are at higher than average risk, you may need a personal plan for testing. This may include genetic risk assessment and testing, especially when there is a family history of medullary thyroid cancer.

A thyroidectomy is surgery to completely remove the thyroid. It may be offered to people who have a genetic condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2). It can help reduce the risk of developing medullary thyroid cancer.

Find out more about genetic testing.

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Learn what you can do to prevent cancer.

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