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Thyroid Cancer in Females

Tatheer Zehra Zaidi   by Tatheer Zehra Zaidi, M. Pharma    Last updated on September 11, 2019,

Thyroid Cancer: Common in Females

Thyroid cancer is a type of cancer that affects the thyroid gland, a small gland at the base of the neck that produces hormones. It is very common in people who are in their 30s and also over the age of 60. Females are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop it than men. Thyroid disorders are common in females due to the roles of hormones involved which are different in females than in males. Thyroid nodules affect up to 80 percent of females and about 5 to 15 percent of those lumps and bumps are malignant.

The presence of cancerous cells in the thyroid gland seems very identical to the healthy cells. The various types of thyroid cancers are:

Papillary Thyroid Cancer

It is a well-differentiated form of thyroid cancer, spreads slowly, and tend to occur mostly in women.

Medullary Thyroid Cancer

It is a rare type of cancer and if detected at an early stage, can be cured completely.

Follicular Carcinomas

These are less common but more likely to recur and metastasize to the regional nodes and spread through the blood vessels into the bones, liver, and lungs.

Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer

The least common type is anaplastic is a dangerous and aggressive form of thyroid cancer. This type of carcinoma tends to be found after it has spread and cannot be cured in maximum cases.

Thyroid Cancer Symptoms in Females

Common symptoms of thyroid cancer in women are:

  • Lump in the throat or neck
  • Cough
  • Hoarseness
  • Pain in the throat and neck
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Fewer and lighter menstrual periods than normal
  • Dry skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Tingling and numbness in the hands or fingers
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, or ear
  • choking sensations
  • Weight gain

Risk Factors for Thyroid Cancer in Female

Common factors that may put women at risk of thyroid cancer are:

  • Being between 25 and 65 years old
  • Being female in itself makes you more prone to getting thyroid cancer.
  • Being exposed to radiation to the head and neck in childhood for the treatment of cancer
  • Having a history of goiter
  • Having a family history of thyroid cancer
  • High levels of Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
  • Having certain genetic conditions such as familial medullary thyroid cancer (FMTC), multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2A syndrome (MEN2A), or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B syndromes (MEN2B)

What a Thyroid Cancer can Cause in Females?

Thyroid cancer can disturb normal functions of the body in women in several ways, thereby affecting overall quality of life. Some of these are listed herein. You should consult your doctor in case you experience any of these problems.

Problems With Menstrual Cycle


The thyroid hormone helps to control the menstrual cycle. Too much or too little thyroid hormone can cause periods very light, heavy, or irregular. The absence of periods for several months or longer is a condition called amenorrhea.

Problems in Getting Pregnant

Thyroid hormone affects ovulation which causes difficulty in getting pregnant.

Problems during pregnancy

Thyroid disorders can cause health problems during pregnancy for the mother and the baby.

How Can Thyroid Cancer be Prevented in Females?

  • By having complete knowledge of the common symptoms of thyroid disorders and thyroid cancer
  • With early detection of thyroid nodules
  • By avoiding radiations
  • Having prophylactic surgery
  • Eating a healthy diet

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are Thyroid Nodules?

Thyroid nodules are lumps or growths of the thyroid.

Is radioactive iodine treatment safe for thyroid cancer?

The long term risks of developing second cancers after radioactive iodine are extremely small.

What are the possible side effects of radioactive iodine treatment (RAI)?

Metallic taste, Nausea, Swollen salivary glands are the possible side effects.