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Can Hashimoto's Cause Cancer?

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Ask a Doctor

I was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I don’t know of any history of this disease in my family, but I do have a family history of cancer. Does Hashimoto’s increase my cancer risk?

Doctor’s Response

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition that is the most common cause of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). The most common type of thyroid cancer is called papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). While there seems to be an association between Hashimoto’s and papillary thyroid cancer, it seems to be associated with a better prognosis. Patients who had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and who were diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer were less likely to have a recurrence of cancer on follow up, compared to those who did not have Hashimoto’s.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis may increase the risk of developing a rare type of cancer called thyroid non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The good news is thyroid lymphoma is treatable and curable if it’s detected and treated promptly.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2019
Sources: References