Thyroid Cancer Canada
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Who Gets It and Risk Factors


Thyroid Cancer – Who gets it and Risk Factors

Who Gets It and Risk Factors

Thyroid cancer can affect anyone. But, certain people appear to be at greater risk. For the vast majority of individual patients, the cause of thyroid cancer is unknown.


Thyroid cancer is now the #1 cancer among young people in Canada (diagnosed more than any other form of cancer in persons 15 - 29 years old).


In 2016, it is estimated that 6,800 Canadians will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer. 210 Canadians will die from thyroid cancer. 1,550 men will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer and 90 will die from it. 5,300 women will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer and 120 will die from it.



The rate of thyroid cancer growth is increasing every year, faster than any other cancer.

Risk factors include the following:


History (if you’ve had it before, or if a family member has).


Age (higher risk in people over 45 years old).


Gender (80% of those with thyroid cancer are women; but, men tend to have more aggressive forms).


External beam radiation (i.e., if you’ve received radiation for other cancers).

Take control

There are many things you can do to help you feel more in control of how your cancer is managed.

  • Make a list of questions before you go to your appointment.
  • Ask a family member or friend to come with you to take notes for you.
  • Track your symptoms and side-effects. What does it keep you from doing? What makes it better? Worse?
  • Bring a calendar and note when you can expect to be contacted for referrals and appointments.
  • Ask for copies of lab reports.
  • Ask when you will see your doctor again, and how to reach him or her if you have questions.