Study on Breast Cancer and Benign Thyroid Disease

January 12, 2012

A December 15, 2011 article in The Oncology Report reported that breast cancer patients are more likely to have autoimmune thyroid disease, according to a published 26-study meta-analysis.

This pooled analysis found breast cancer patients:

  • Were 2.92-fold more likely to have autoimmune thyroiditis
  • Were 2.02-fold more likely to be positive for antithyroid antibodies
  • Were 2.26-fold greater prevalence of goiter

In addition, 50%-80% of women with breast cancer were more likely than other women to have either hyper- or hypothyroidism. However, these trends did not achieve statistical significance.

The article goes on to report that until longer observations can determine the cause of this association, it may be beneficial to screen women with breast cancer for autoimmune thyroid disease.

Autoimmune Thyroid Disease (Thyroiditis) Testing

Because this is new information, many doctors may not be as concerned about screening for autoimmune thyroid disease until thyroid symptoms begin to develop. Even with symptoms, testing for thyroiditis may not be performed until after a basic thyroid panel with TSH blood testing shows signs of thyroid dysfunction.

Meanwhile, the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and thyroiditis that people may want to be aware of, taken directly from, are:


  • Weight loss despite increased appetite
  • Increased heart rate, heart palpitations, blood pressure, nervousness, and perspiration
  • More frequent bowel movements, sometimes with diarrhea
  • Muscle weakness, trembling hands
  • Development  an enlargement in your neck (goiter)
  • Lighter or shorter menstrual periods


  • Lethargy, slower mental processes or depression
  • Reduced heart rate and decreased perspiration
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands
  • Development of an enlargement in your neck (goiter)
  • Constipation, heavy menstrual periods or dry skin and hair

Subacute thyroiditis:

  • Mild to severe pain in the thyroid gland
  • The thyroid feels tender to the touch
  • Pain or discomfort when swallowing or turning your head
  • Appearance of these symptoms shortly after a viral infection, such as the flu, mumps, or measles


For people who have the desire to stay on top of their health and work with their doctor despite health insurance allowances or stipulations, direct-to-consumer online lab testing is available.


Read the The Oncology Report article mentioned here in full detail at:

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