Does thyroid cancer occur more often in women than in men? Elizabeth Tracey reports

November 15, 2021

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Despite vastly different rates of thyroid cancers diagnosed in men and women, a recent study concludes the actual rates are really quite similar. Lilah Morris-Wiseman, an endocrine surgeon at Johns Hopkins, explains the findings.

Morris-Wiseman: Women are being diagnosed far more than men with what we think are indolent thyroid cancers, papillary thyroid cancer typically, in many patients overall slow growing and excellent prognosis. The JAMA Internal Medicine study compared the rates of diagnosis of these small thyroid cancers over time and then looked at autopsy studies to see the true rate of small indolent thyroid cancers, and found that actually the rates in women and men are not significantly different.  :32

Morris-Wiseman says it’s unclear why so many more women are diagnosed with these cancers, but suggests that some may be due to women simply seeking medical care more often than men. She advocates for second opinions always before choosing any treatment. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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