Thyroid issues have been linked to breast cancer – are you at risk?

Women with overactive thyroid glands have an 11 per cent higher risk of developing breast cancer, a new study has revealed.

Women with overactive thyroid glands have an 11 per cent higher risk of developing breast cancer, a new study has revealed.

The research also found women with underactive thyroid glands have a six per cent lower risk of developing breast cancer than the general population.

Lead study author Dr Mette Sogaard, of Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, said: ‘High levels of thyroid hormone levels can have estrogen-like effects, which may explain why hyperthyroidism is associated with higher risk of breast cancer.’

Around 11 per cent of women develop a thyroid condition before they’re 60, and is diagnosed due to the thyroid gland either producing too much or too little of the hormone thyroxine, according to the Thyroid Organisation.

Hypothyroidism in particular can speed up metabolism, resulting in sudden weight loss, irregular heartbeat, nervousness and more.

A team of Danish scientists studied nationwide registries to identify women with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism between 1978 and 2013, then analysed the women’s risk of breast cancer, comparing it with the estimated risk in the general population.

In total, they compiled data on more than four million women and identified 61,837 women had hypothyroidism, and 80,343 had hyperthyroidism.

The findings were stark in contrast: the scientists found women with overactive thyroids were far more likely to develop breast cancer than the general population.

Dr Sogaard said: ‘Our findings emphasise the importance of raising awareness of breast cancer in women with hyperthyroidism, and further our understanding of this potential risk’.

Are you suffering from a thyroid condition? Could this information help someone you know? Share your thoughts below:

  1. This article is incorrect. It states hypothyroidism causes weight loss. Possibly a typo. Because it actually causes weight gain as one of the symptoms

    • Thanks Mary McAuley Foster 🙂 We’ll get our Editorial team to check those medical reports this morning. – SaS

      • Janet iffinger  

        Yes hypo is incorrect. It is hyper and I am a sufferer.

    • for great insight there is a Facebook page …Stop the Thyroid madness (Australia) a closed group ..they are not doctors ..offer support to people who are seeking answers ….people share their bloodtest results an experiences …thru them I have been able to show my gp he has me on the wrong meds …then find a doctor who will prescribe NDT ….this subject is way too complicated …

    • It can work either way…hypo generally Is overweight and hyper underweight. Not for me though, mine was very hyper and I’m overweight, not unusual at all, according to my endocrinologist.

  2. My sister had thyroid cancer and later developed breast cancer. She is a nonsmoker… Happy to say that by God’s grace both she and another of our sisters are survivors!!!🙏🏽🎉🎊🎈💫💥✨🎀🎀

  3. Wow lucky me! I have had Graves disease (overactive thyroid), DCIS (ducal carcinoma in situ – a type of breast cancer) and I now have under active thyroid!

  4. a very complicated subject ….just on my way now for a bloodtest to define my levels re the correct medications …has take me 6 months to obtain an appt an start working with an int doctor …gps & endocrinologists generally misdiagnosis..placing their patients on the common drug Thyroxine …..there are many books & groups which can offer advice…an put you on the correct path ….

    • Hi Rosanna would you mind pm me what specialty dr you are song as I am in the same dilemma add you are. Nor happy taking thyroxine alone

    • I’m on thyroxine after a total thyroid tomb. I feel ok but still quite lethargic. The specialist refuses to put me on natural desicated thyroid! I’ll keep pestering him though.

    • I have overactive took over a year to diagnose I went to a different doctor he new as soon as I sat in the chair what it was confirmed it with a blood test he put me on neomercazole 6 a day didn’t get to see an endocrinologist for three months by then my levels had dropped by nearly half so cut back to less pills ended up on 1 pill a day my doctor handle it all for me I’m now just gone off the pills get tested in three months as usual for a year then six months then yearly for life. Thee is a chance it may come back then it an op it I was told you can’t go under active if your over active

    • Judy Cameron & Marita Duncan …out for the day …will pm you both this evening with contact to the thyroid group …some expert knowledge on there…I am feeling my way with this as well ..( but quietly confident on the right track now )

  5. hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism — affect the thyroid in different ways and therefore have distinct symptoms. Hypo causes weight gain amongst other things whilst it is the Hyper that causes weight loss due to it speeding up the metabolism.

    • I have Hypo and lost weight, over 10kilos, I am now on 50mcgs of Eutroxig and have slowly put back 5.5kilos. I have had Hypo for over 20yrs.

    • Trish it is unusual to lose weight with hypothyroidism as it slows the metabolism usually causing weight gain.

    • Nita is correct in most cases but occasionally it can work the opposite. A good read concer ning hypothroidism is I am hashimotos available on google

  6. I was diagnosed with an under active thyroid in my 50s now it is overactive I have lost over 20kg in weight over the last 6 months, my calcium levels are also high

    • Thank you Marita I know, I’ve had numerous tests but everything has come back ok I’m off to the Dr today because I’ve been reading up on hyper calcification & suspect it might be that

  7. If that was me! I would go on a strict Paleo or Kinetic diet. Starves the Cancer Cells

  8. Please who ever writes these articales check the info is right and not around the wrong way

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