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Mary Shomon

Does Hashimoto's Thyroiditis Increase Your Risk for Thyroid Cancer?

By November 12, 2008

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Research just published in the Journal of Surgical Research has confirmed what other research has suggested: that having the autoimmune thyroid disease Hashimoto's thyroiditis increases the risk of developing thyroid cancer -- and in particular, the papillary form of thyroid cancer.

The researchers studied almost 1200 patients who had thyroid surgery between 1994 and 2007. Of these patients, more than 200 had Hashimoto's thyroiditis. The researchers found that:

  • Papillary thyroid cancer occurred in 29% of the Hashimoto's thyroiditis patients
  • 29% of the women with papillary thyroid cancer also had Hashimoto's thyroiditis
  • Among women with any type of thyroid malignancy, 95% who had Hashimoto's had papillary thyroid cancer
  • Female Hashimoto's patients with goiters had a significantly lower rate of papillary thyroid cancer (9%) compared to women without goiters (36%) (These differences were not observed in men with Hashimoto's.)
The researchers concluded that Hashimoto's thyroiditis is definitely associated with an increased risk of developing papillary thyroid cancer. The risk is greatest for women: female patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis who undergo thyroidectomy are 30% more likely to have papillary thyroid cancer.

The researchers recommend that, based on these findings, more aggressive surveillance for papillary thyroid cancer may be indicated in Hashimoto's patients, especially women.

More Info About Thyroid Cancer:

Source: Repplinger, Daniel et. al. "Is Hashimoto's Thyroiditis a Risk Factor for Papillary Thyroid Cancer?" Journal of Surgical Research, Volume 150, Issue 1, Pages 49-52 (November 2008)

Photo: clipart.com

November 14, 2008 at 4:54 am
(1) lila says:

another uncomfortable conclusion from the quoted study could be, that it is favourable for female hashi-patients to have a goiter (usually a form of thyroid hyperplasia to compensate hypofunktion)? Would be interesting to know whether there is a correlation: low TSH/high risk of papillary cancer. Nevertheless I myself would rather take the increased risk of cancer than suffering from my symptoms connected with a high TSH….

November 14, 2008 at 11:28 am
(2) LW says:


Your news story says that the study confirmed that having Hashimoto’s thyroiditis increases the risk of developing thyroid cancer. I don’t understand how it can confirm that if the study was of “1200 patients who had thyroid surgery”.

I haven’t read the study, so I’ve probably got this wrong; but on the basis of your summary above surely the best the study can tell us is that *if* you have a condition that requires thyroid surgery, then having Hashimoto’s increases the risk that you have or might get thyroid cancer? How can the study tell us anything about the risk of thyroid cancer for all those people with Hashimoto’s but who don’t have a condition needing surgery? Or is there more to it than that?


December 1, 2011 at 8:06 am
(3) petra04 says:

Hi lw(Mary) and Lila,
I just had surgery to remove half my thryoid out 2 weeks ago.My results were hashimoto’s thyroiditis(hashimotos disease) with a small 1.5mm follicular varient papillary carcinoma seperate from the follicualr adenoma that was removed.I dont understand it either how its related and maybe its not.However I do know that ive been having trigemeny(constant heart palpitations since 2009),tired all the time,foggy brain,moody,emotional, depressed,very dry skin,corse hair etc and much more.However, I am glad that the cancer was removed and i’ll handle anything that comes my way.The C word weighs more then having a condition like hashimoto that eventually with time can lead to a normal life.I wish you all the best.

November 14, 2008 at 3:13 pm
(4) kathy says:

Maybe if all the doctors would at least look into underlying iodine deficiency we could advert things like goiters, thyroid cancer,hashi’s, graves, fibrocystic breast, breast cancer, and ovarian cyst and also prostate cancer in men.

November 15, 2008 at 10:27 am
(5) lila says:

sorry, but let me quote Rose NR/Linking iodine with autoimmune thyroiditis: “A great deal of circumstantial evidence has linked iodine with the rising incidence of autoimmune thyroiditis in the United States”. There is a body of evidence from studies following iodine-supplementation programs all over the world, that iodine induces or enhances autoimmune thyroiditis…

November 15, 2008 at 10:30 pm
(6) Marlene says:

If indeed we that have Hashimotos are to keep a better surveilance on our thyroid what exactly does that mean? Should we just have our thyroid out so we have no chance? Maybe some one could explain how to watch our thyroid for cancer. Thanks

November 18, 2008 at 12:46 am
(7) shauna says:

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s at age 25 and diagnosed with multifocal papillary cancer at age 29.

November 19, 2008 at 3:49 pm
(8) Diane says:

I had hypothyroidism for 8 years and had it under control. My chiropractor put me on iodine, saying it would make my hypothyroidism go away, and I developed Hashimotos and a goiter. My meds stopped working, and I had to have my thyroid removed. I am not a professional iodine expert. I am just noting my series of events. Good luck everyone.

November 26, 2008 at 2:25 pm
(9) 898 says:

Diane, iodine overdose combined with selenium deficiency can trigger the Hashimoto’s disease

December 4, 2008 at 11:50 pm
(10) Cheryl says:

Hi, I suffered with a thyroid problem for 20 + years. They would do a thyroid test here and there–everything normal. Mary’s web site helped me fight for the right tests and care I needed. I had no goiter; however, what I was and had been experiencing was NOT normal for me. I found that I had Hashimoto’s at age 49 and started taking medication; however, it wasn’t working for me even though the TSH came back a 1. They told me it was all in my head! After doing a little more research and pushing for more opinions, I found out that I had thyroid cancer. Yes, it’s a slow growing cancer–not to worry; however, after my surgery, I found that it had already spread to surrounding lymph nodes. To add insult to injury, my medical record revealed that I have had nodules since 1986, and the doctor didn’t indicate they needed further evaluation or monitoring, and who was I to question a doctor at that time. However, now I am much wiser and know better to trust any doctor. You must be an advocate for yourself. Also, this isn’t my first cancer. My first cancer was cervical cancer (1993); however, from my research I have learned that my cervical cancer was actually caused from the thyroid cancer. I’m sure if I had received that proper care early on treating the Hashimoto’s, I would not have had the thyroid cancer or cervical cancer or have to worry now about the cancer spreading to my lungs or bones. Listen to your body; do your research; and, keep searching for the doctor that’s willing to LISTEN to you!

December 1, 2011 at 8:26 am
(11) petra04 says:

Cheryl, I totally agree with you.You deffently have to listen to your body and trust it.Doctors are professional and most of the time when it comes to our health,they know best.However I have learnt over the years after having many health issues these past few years that you know your own body, no one else does except you and you alone.Always go with your gut instincts.Alot of the time its folks who push and push for medical help knowing something just isnt right who found something early enough to be treated.After only being diagnosed yesterday with hashimoto after removing half thyroid 2 weeks ago and them finding a small papillay cancer, I’m seriously thinking not now but soon just removing all my thyroid as I dont know if Im comfortable in having some thyroid left in that also could have cancer.Theres a saying,haste makes waste and as Thyroid cancers are mostly slow growing,I feel I can wait alittle.Moral of the story,it will be my discission and if its a constant emotional battle with me thinking of it over and over,then deffently I will have it removed so I can move forward with my life with my family.Good-luck to you all.

December 18, 2008 at 11:59 pm
(12) Sarah says:

Sorry, but cervical cancer is in no way caused by Thyroid Cancer or Hashimoto’s. Cervical cancer is something like 95% of the time caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) which is a STD. The other perfect of the time it is just caused by the normal issue with cancer, which is mutated genes causing cells to go hay-wire.

February 3, 2009 at 6:25 pm
(13) Diane says:

I want to comment on the iodine subject, too. At the age of 25, I went to the Caribbean and had fish soup. The iodine content in the water in that area is very high. I had an iodine reaction from the fish soup immediately. My throat burned like fire and my thyroid swelled up like a baseball. I was sick for a long time. 10 years later, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. It seemed to me that iodine was bad for my thyroid since I had that horrible reaction.

June 4, 2009 at 3:51 pm
(14) tammy says:

i have hasimotos thyroidism
im on sythyroid 200 mgs now i had a ct done the results show i have hashimotos thyroidism i have overactive thyroid

March 11, 2011 at 5:21 am
(15) Rebecca says:

I have a goiter and a small cyst fluid on my thyroid, high antibodies and have been diagnosed with hashi. I’ve been told I can either just leave it and monitor it or have my thyroid removed. I don’t like the idea of surgery. I can live with the sore throats. My thyroid function is normal at the moment. What are the chances of it all just going away? I’m scared the antibodies will cause cancer. Can anyone give me any advice. Rebecca, 31 years old

April 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm
(16) rebecca says:

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s 10 years ago and am on 150mcg of synthroid. Two weeks ago i had a biopsy and found thyroid cancer. I am now scheduled to remove the thyroid. I have been told that there is a definite correlation

May 1, 2012 at 2:48 pm
(17) Jodi says:

I was recently diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer and underwent a complete thyroidectomy. In my post op follow up appt with my surgeon I was told that in addition to 3 cancerous tumors on my thyroid, they discovered I was positive for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I didn’t know I had HT before they stuck my thyroid under a microscope, post dissection. It’s interesting to me because the cancer was found when my GP felt the lump in my neck in a routine exam. I had a lot of test done in the lead up to the surgery, yet HT never came up. I was diagnosed with Lupus about 10 years ago, in my early 30’s, and have it mostly under control with medication. I find it concerning that I have multiple autoimmune disorders and even more troubling to learn that this particular autoimmune disorder (Hashimoto’s) caused cancer. Ugh. Is there evidence that if a person has one autoimmune disease they are more likely to develop additional autoimmune diseases? Or is my case just coincidental? Anyone on here have knowledge about this or similar concerns?

July 12, 2012 at 4:57 pm
(18) Emily says:


I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in 2009 at the age of 19. Since then, I have been diagnosed with diabetes and celiac disease, both autoimmune. There is evidence supporting the incidence of multiple autoimmune disorders in patients who already have one. My endo is also concerned about the possibility of me developing lupus – my labs are normal at the present time, but I have been presenting early symptoms, so we are monitoring that heavily. Tomorrow I am being tested for PCOS as well.

For everyone else who had thyroid cancer, I am curious:
Lately I have been extremely hoarse, have had a chronic cough, pain in the neck that goes into the ears, and my TSH levels have been consistently elevated (ranging anywhere from 11-20). I’m on 325mcg of Synthroid but obviously I’m not responding to that. What kind of symptoms were you guys having before the cancer diagnosis?

September 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm
(19) vanna7 says:

Hi, I have Hasimotos Desease , and Rhem. Arthrities Desease and Fibro. I found out about this 3yrs. ago. I haven’t been able to go to the doc. in the past 4months for pain Meds. It is so painful i can’t hardly stand it. good news is i’v been able to get a app. for Oct. 2nd. thank God for his grace.

December 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm
(20) emmy says:

I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in August of 2012. Upon the removal of my thyroid lab results showed that I had Hashimoto disease. Since this discovery several of my family members, including my sister, have been tested and diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. Research suggest that Hashimoto disease can and does lead to thyroid cancer yet there is not enough attention given to this disease. Please support Hashimoto Disease Awareness!

January 17, 2013 at 1:57 am
(21) rose mary says:

I have hashimottos thyroidits. The FNAC test resulted in showing clusters of individually scattered thyroid follicular cells some showing ascanziation with lymphotic cluster against haemoragic background. I want know whether I have thyroid cancer. Please let me know about my disease.

February 23, 2013 at 1:46 am
(22) Anonymous says:

Vanna and others with ‘multiple auto immune diseases’ look into the possibility of tick borne diseases perhaps being the root cause of causing this. I speak from great experience and much mus-diagnosises/talk of diseases like lupus, ms and been dx’d with colitis and hashi w/12 goiders, no doubt occurred due to the parasites and bacterias running ramped in my body, Post much lengthy tick borne treatment I have been off of meds for colitis, thanks be to Jesus. check out sites like http://www.underourskin.com and ilads.org

May 6, 2014 at 8:43 am
(23) abigail says:

i have this thyroid issue and i am very scared

May 17, 2014 at 7:25 am
(24) michele says:

Hi :

My healthy to look at 10 year old girl …thin & active has been diagnosed with hypothyroid. We are now getting a second blood test and checking for Hashimoto’s. There is a great incidence of Celiac in the family and I feel the “gluten allergy” may be responsible. Has anyone tried cutting gluten out of their diet and their thyroid with medication is easier to live with? I feel this because Celiac is depriving the body of vitamins and maybe iodine and selenium etc causing the thyroid to be attacked by the immune system…

May 19, 2014 at 9:34 am
(25) L. says:

My Naturopath strongly suggested going gluten free since I was dx with Hashi’s. There is a possible link although I’ve never been diagnosed.

I have Lyme and also think there is a link with that as other’s on this thread
have suggested.

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