Long-term risks for thyroid cancer and other neoplasms after exposure to radiation.Nat Clin Pract Endocrinol Metab 2005; 1(2):82-91NC
Radiation-related thyroid cancer continues to be a clinical concern for two reasons: the risks associated with the widespread use of radiation treatments for benign conditions in the middle of the last century persist for decades after exposure; and radiation continues to be an effective component of the treatment of several childhood malignancies. Patients who were irradiated in the head and neck area need to be evaluated for thyroid cancer, benign thyroid nodules, hyperparathyroidism, salivary-gland neoplasms and neural tumors, including acoustic neuromas. Radiation-related thyroid cancers appear to have the same clinical behavior as other thyroid cancers, but many irradiated patients are entering the age range when more aggressive neoplasms occur. In this paper, we review how to approach the clinical management of a patient with a history of radiation exposure in the thyroid area, and how to treat radiation-exposed patients who develop related neoplasms, especially thyroid cancer.