Can Thyroid Cause Breast Cancer?

Over the years different studies have discovered that there is a possible connection between thyroid problems (especially hyperthyroidism) and breast cancer.

Hyperthyroidism and Breast Cancer

Although several studies have proven that this connection between thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer) and Breast cancer, not all breast cancer cases lead to thyroid cancer, and not all thyroid cases cause breast cancer. According to Bosterbio.com, BDNF Elisa kits are able to trace the slightest cases of hyperthyroidism to reduce the susceptibility to breast cancer in the female population.

Breast cancer is the highest recorded cause of cancer deaths in women. It is also the most common type of cancer that is seen in women. 70 to 80% of breast cancer cases are usually known to be estrogen receptor-positive hence breast cancer is known to be a hormone-related type of cancer.

Experimental studies have helped scientists to discover that thyroid hormones are able to stimulate the rapid reproduction of cells in the breast tissues. At high levels, thyroid hormones can have effects that are alike to those of estrogen. The body will see them as estrogen effects and responds with progesterone receptors which increase the mediated effects of estradiol on the rapid reproduction of cells.

Possible reasons for the relationship between thyroid problems and breast cancer

The thyroid hormone is known to increase the cell reproduction of brain tissues when it is overproduced in the body as it mimics estrogen. Besides this already known fact, the relationship between breast cancer and hyperthyroidism can be explained thus;

The susceptibility to breast cancer because of a genetic pathway of hyperthyroidism

Although it is not unclear if a family history of hyperthyroidism can increase the risk of breast cancer, scientists have gone into further studies to prove if this connection exists.

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Thyroid Cancer and Breast Cancer

A particular study posited a previous case of breast cancer may leave you at a high risk of having thyroid cancer as much as a thyroid cancer history might leave you susceptible to breast cancer. A lot of studies that give data on the connection between thyroid and breast cancers have been reviewed. Researchers were able to discover that a female who has had thyroid cancer is 1.18 times more likely to develop breast cancer than a woman who has never had thyroid cancer.

Possible reasons for the connection between thyroid cancer and breast cancer

  • Radioiodine therapy: Research has discovered that the use of Radioiodine therapy to treat hyperthyroidism in Grave’s disease patients can trigger breast cancer in few women.
  • Genetic Mutations
  • Lifestyle factors

Factors that are related to routine activities due to being a thyroid cancer patient such as:

  • Exposure to radiation to kill cancerous cells
  • Lack of Exercise
  • Poor diet

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

If you’ve had a medical or family history of thyroid cancer or hyperthyroidism, here are symptoms of breast cancer to look out for:

  • Swelling, irritation, and dimpling of the skin covering the breast area
  • Pain around the breast or nipple
  • Nipples turn inward
  • Nipple skin thickens
  • Inflammation in the affected part of the breast
  • Abnormal discharge from the nipple


Your treatment depends on the severity of your cancer and what your doctor thinks would work best for you. These treatment options may include local treatments such as

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy

Systemic therapies which destroy cancer cells in any part of the body can be used to combat both. These include:

  • Hormonal therapies
  • Cell targeted therapy
  • Chemotherapy

Your doctor might choose to combine hormonal therapy with radiotherapy. These can be administered at the same time or the hormonal therapy can come after chemotherapy. Exposure to radiation in the case of systemic therapies will reduce the growth of cancer cells.


Although it might be unclear how having thyroid problems might predispose you to breast cancer but the aforementioned studies point to the likelihood of such a connection existing. Therefore if you suspect that you have thyroid cancer or you are already suffering from thyroid cancer, while screening for thyroid cancer also screen for breast cancer. Breast cancer cases that are discovered at their early stages have the highest treatment success rate. Even if your doctor doesn’t think you need to screen for the presence of another cancer, go ahead and suggest it to him or her. Check for breast cancer if you already have thyroid cancer and for thyroid cancer if you already have breast cancer.

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