A new study documents rising incidents of thyroid cancer, calculated at about 3% per year, and describes a rising death rate from thryoid cancer at about 1% per year:
Hyeyeun Lim, Susan S. Devesa, Julie A. Sosa, David Check, Cari M. Kitahara, (April 4, 2017). Trends in Thyroid Cancer Incidence and Mortality in the United States, 1974-2013. JAMA. 2017;317(13):1338-1348. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.2719
Question: What have been the trends in US thyroid cancer incidence and mortality, and have they differed by tumor characteristics at diagnosis?
Findings: In this analysis of 77 276 thyroid cancer patients diagnosed during 1974-2013 and of 2371 thyroid cancer deaths during 1994-2013, average annual increases in incidence and mortality rates, respectively, were 3.6% and 1.1% overall and 2.4% and 2.9% for patients diagnosed with advanced-stage papillary thyroid cancer.
Meaning: Thyroid cancer incidence and mortality rates have increased for patients diagnosed with advanced-stage papillary thyroid cancer in the United States since 1974, suggesting a true increase in the occurrence of thyroid cancer.
The study has been covered in the mainstream media:
Amanda Onion. (March 31, 2017). Thyroid Cancer Rates Triple, and Scientists Look for Cause. Live Science, http://www.livescience.com/58489-thyroid-cancer-rates-tripled.html
Thyroid cancer rates are rising faster than any other cancer in the United States, a new study found: Between 1975 and 2013, the number of thyroid cancer cases diagnosed yearly more than tripled…. in the new analysis, scientists argued that the alarming rise isn’t just due to improvements in detecting thyroid cancer.
The media is framing the cause of the rising incidents of thyroid cancer in relation to obesity, declining smoking ( crazy! ) and chemicals used as flame retardants:
Sumathi Reddy. (April 10, 2017). Thyroid Cancer Rates Raise New Concerns. The Wall Street Journal, https://www.wsj.com/articles/thyroid-cancer-rates-raise-new-concerns-1491855921
Two new studies show that the high incidence of thyroid cancer may be more dangerous than previously thought.
… The JAMA study showed that the incidence of thyroid cancer has more than tripled over the past four decades, and this includes larger tumors and patients with more deadly disease. The Duke University and National Cancer Institute researchers also found that mortality for thyroid cancer patients has been rising slightly for the past two decades…
…The NCI and Duke researchers tracked the number of thyroid cancer cases from 1974 to 2013 and found there was an increase of 3.6% cases a year on average with mortality increasing 1% a year since 1994, said Cari Kitahara, an investigator at the NCI, part of the federal National Institutes of Health, and a senior author on the JAMA study.
…In a separate study, whose results were presented at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month, Dr. Sosa and colleagues at the Nicholas School of Environmental Health at Duke University found that higher exposure to three types of flame retardants was associated with papillary thyroid cancer. The data are currently under review for publication….
The flame retardant account is being forwarded by Drs. Sosa and colleagues, who are among the authors of the JAMA study cited above.
Although I have little doubt that there are multiple environmental inputs that are responsible for rising thyroid cancer rates, I find it interesting that ionizing radiation is MISSING from mainstream accounts despite the alarming increase in thyroid cancer among Fukushima’s children.
In fact, in Japan there are efforts underway to “scale down” monitoring of thyroid cancer among Fukushima residents despite the rising incidents of cancerous thyroid tumors among children (see my discussion here: (http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2017/04/efforts-to-scale-down-fuukshima-health.html).
Efforts to marginalize the role of ionizing radiation in producing thyroid cancer are inconsistent with formal acknowledgement by the International Atomic Energy Association that ionizing radiation causes thyroid cancer.
At the third Chernobyl Forum Meeting held in Vienna by the IAEA, representatives from that organization, UNSCEAR, the WHO, and governmental representatives issued a three-volume report concluding that 9,000 persons died or developed radiation caused cancers and 4,000 children received operations for Chernobyl-induced thyroid cancer.
It is no secret that ionizing radiation causes thyroid cancer, as discussed here:
Yuri E. Nikiforov. Is ionizing radiation responsible for the increasing incidence of thyroid cancer? Cancer. 2010;116(7):1626-1628. doi:10.1002/cncr.24889.
Damage to developing children’s thyroid glands doesn’t simply cause cancer. Damage, whether by radioactive elements or complex chemicals, also causes cognitive and/or social developmental problems.
I have previously blogged about a sharp increase in the autism rate among California children who entered kindergarten last year. They would have been exposed to Fukushima fallout during their first year of life (see http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2016/10/sharp-increase-in-autism-rate-among.html).
Did Fukushima fallout cause or contribute to these California kids’ autism? Although this question could be studied empirically, few researchers will risk their careers studying the potential relationship.
Instead researchers will point to other, less politicized environmental culprits.
Although I support efforts to identify endocrine disrupting industrial chemicals, we must not ignore the most potent cause of thyroid cancer, IONIZING RADIATION.