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Keywords:

  • thyroid neoplasms;
  • prospective cohort;
  • reproductive and hormonal risk factors;
  • smoking history;
  • alcohol consumption

Abstract

Given the higher incidence rate of thyroid cancer among women compared to men and evidence that smoking and alcohol consumption may be inversely related to thyroid cancer risk, we examined thyroid cancer risk in association with menstrual, reproductive and hormonal factors, and cigarette and alcohol consumption, in a prospective cohort study of 89,835 Canadian women aged 40–59 at recruitment who were enrolled in the National Breast Screening Study (NBSS). Linkages to national cancer and mortality databases yielded data on cancer incidence and deaths from all causes, respectively, with follow-up ending between 1998 and 2000. Cox proportional hazards models (using age as the time scale) were used to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the association between each of the potential risk factors and risk of thyroid cancer overall and by the main histologic subtypes. During a mean of 15.9 years of follow-up, we observed 169 incident thyroid cancer cases. There was no evidence of altered overall thyroid cancer risk with any of the menstrual, reproductive, or hormonal factors. There was evidence of a decreased risk of papillary thyroid cancer among women with 5 or more live births (vs. nulliparous). Age at which smoking commenced, duration of smoking, number of cigarettes smoked per day, pack-years of smoking and alcohol consumption were not associated with altered thyroid cancer risk. The present study provides little support for associations with hormonal factors, smoking, or alcohol consumption, but there is a need for additional prospective data. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.