By the way, doctor: How does radiation cause thyroid cancer?

Published: February, 2007

Q. What kind of radiation causes thyroid cancer? What about microwave ovens and dental x-rays?

A. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of the neck beneath the larynx. Compared to many other organs, the thyroid gland is particularly sensitive to certain types of radiation. For example, radiation from x-ray and radiation therapy machines and radioactive atoms are linked to both benign and malignant thyroid tumors. The younger the age of exposure and the higher and more direct the dose, the more likely it is that a thyroid tumor will develop in adulthood.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »