Alcohol and Thyroid Cancer Risk: Drinking is Beneficial

Researchers examined the relationship between drinking alcohol and thyroid cancer risk. To do so, they located 33 observational studies on the subject. Of these, 20 were case-control, 11 were cohort, and two were cross-sectional studies. Combined, they involved 3,113,679 participants without thyroid cancer. A total of 7,725 developed the disease.

The researchers conducted meta-analyses to analyze the results of the 33 studies. They found that alcohol consumption was significantly and consistently associated with decreased risk of thyroid cancer. Analyses were also made by type of thyroid cancer, amount of alcohol consumed, sex, and methodological strength of study. They each showed that drinking alcohol was significantly associated with decreased risk of thyroid cancer.

These findings are consistent with other research.

Major Thyroid Cancer Risk Factors

Some things increase the risk of getting thyroid cancer.

• Family history of thyroid cancer.
• Personal history of thyroid lumps.
• Being female.
• Exposure to radiation.
• Being over 45 years of age.
• Family history of goiters or of colon polyps.

Possible Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

alcohol and thyroid cancerIn its early stages thyroid cancer may no symptoms. But as it grows, its symptoms may include these.
• A lump in the front of the neck.
• Changes in the voice.
• Swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
• Difficulty swallowing.
• Continuing pain in the throat or neck.

Fortunately, thyroid cancer usually isn’t the cause of these symptoms. However, it’s wise to see a doctor if symptoms persist as long as two weeks. Better safe than sorry.

Alcohol and Thyroid Cancer Research Summary

Drinking alcohol is significantly associated with decreased risk of thyroid cancer.

Source: Alcohol Intake and Risk of Thyroid Cancer. A Meta-analysis of Observational Studies. Hong SH, Myung SK, Kim H; Korean Meta-Analysis (KORMA) Study Group. Cancer Res Treat,  2016 Jul 7. doi: 10.4143/crt.2016.161.


Resources on Thyroid Cancer

Biersack. H., and Grunwald, F. Thyroid Cancer. NY: Springer, 2005.

Braunstein, G. Thyroid Cancer. NY: Springer, 2012.

Lippman, F., et al. Thyroid. Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Nova Southeastern U, 2008.

National Cancer Institute. What You Need to Know about Thyroid Cancer. Bethesda, MD: The Institute, 2012.

Vanderpump, M., et al. Thyroid Disease. NY: Oxford U Press, 2008

Wang, T., and Evans, D. Medullary Thyroid Cancer. NY: Springer, 2016.