Thyroid Cancer Risk Reduced by Moderate Drinking of Alcohol

What are the thyroid cancer risk factors. Could one of them be drinking alcohol? These are very important questions.


I.   Reduces Risk

II.  Major Risk Factors

III. Possible Symptoms

IV.  Resources

I. Drinking Alcohol Reduces Thyroid Cancer Risk

Doctors made a country-wide population-based case-control study in New Caledonia. Both men and women who drank alcohol had a lower thyroid cancer risk.

Data came from almost one-half million (490,000) people. Doctors found that increased drinking decreased the risk of thyroid cancer.

Doctors also studied women in the Cancer Surveillance System (CSS). It’s a cancer registry in Washington State. Higher levels of alcohol drinking led to lower chance of thyroid cancer.

Doctors studied over one and one-quarter million (1,280,296) women in the U.K. They followed them for an average of over seven years. Their study confirmed that drinking alcohol is protective of thyroid cancer.

Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common form of thyroid cancer. It makes up about 80% of all such cancers. Researchers compared 410 women with this cancer with 574 similar women without the disease. Drinking alcohol greatly reduced the chance of getting papillary thyroid cancer.

Finally, researchers analyzed the results of 33 studies on the subject. They found that drinking alcohol was highly and consistently linked with lower chance of getting thyroid cancer. 

They also analyzed by type of thyroid cancer, level of alcohol drinking, sex, and rigor of study. Each showed drinking alcohol to be strongly linked with decreased chance of getting thyroid cancer.

Alcohol may protect the thyroid by helping it regulate the rate at which it releases hormones into the body. This may prevent any dangerous buildup in the gland.

II. Major Thyroid Cancer Risk Factors

These things increase the chance of developing thyroid cancer.

    • Being female (increases risk almost three times).thyroid cancer risk
    • Exposure to radiation.
    • Being 45 years of age or older.
    • Personal history of thyroid lumps.
    • Family history of thyroid cancer.
    • Family history of goiters or colon polyps

III. Possible Thyroid Cancer Symptoms

Early thyroid cancer often has no symptoms. But as the cancer grows, symptoms may include these.

    • A lump in the front of the neck.
    • Hoarseness or voice changes.
    • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
    • Trouble swallowing or breathing.
    • Pain in the throat or neck that does not go away.

These symptoms are not usually due to cancer. But anyone with symptoms that do not disappear within two weeks should see a doctor.

Drinking alcoholic beverages reduces the chance of thyroid cancer. Also, moderate alcohol drinking leads to better health and longer life. That’s in comparison to abstaining from alcohol. Or drinking abusively.

How do beer, wine and distilled spirits compare for health and long life? No form of alcoholic beverage has greater health or longevity benefits than any other.

IV. Resources on Thyroid Cancer Risk

Science Reports