Breast cancer and thyroid disorder are two of the most common conditions affecting women in large numbers all over the world. According to several researchers, many breast cancers are sensitive to hormones such as estrogen, and at higher levels, thyroid hormone is known to have estrogen-like effects. A recent study has in fact suggested that having excess thyroid hormone might lead to the development of breast cancer.
The thyroid hormone is produced by the thyroid – a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck. It is responsible for performing critical functions like controlling heart rate, metabolism and body temperature. Women are 5 to 10 times more prone to developing thyroid disorders than men. In some women, a condition called hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid is developed wherein thyroid gland produces excess thyroid hormone. Another condition called hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid is found in some women in which the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone.
In order to determine the relation between hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism and breast cancer, researchers included a large group of women in Denmark affected by thyroid disease between 1978 and 2013. The study comprised of 80000 participants with an overactive thyroid and 60000 with an underactive thyroid. According to results, women with an overactive thyroid were at an 11% risk of developing breast cancer as compared to their underactive thyroid counterparts who were at a 6% reduced risk of developing the condition.
It is important to note that the study only showed excess hormone promotes breast cancer, and does not indicate that the condition causes breast cancer to develop. Further studies are required to get in-depth knowledge about the exact link between thyroid disease and breast cancer. However, women with hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid should be in constant touch with their doctors.
So visit a pathology lab near you and get a thyroid test done upon the recommendation of your doctor. Remember, timely detection of breast cancer has effective treatment options available. Stay healthy, stay safe!