Obesity linked to more advanced and aggressive thyroid cancer

Normal ThyroidObese patients are more likely than normal-weight patients to have advanced, aggressive forms of papillary thyroid cancer, according to a new study.

The researchers found that high body-mass index (BMI) was associated with more advanced cancer at the time of diagnosis. Obese and morbidly obese patients were more likely to have stage 3 or stage 4 cancer, and more likely to have the aggressive forms of the disease.

For the study, the researchers reviewed the medical records of 443 patients who underwent total thyroidectomy as an initial treatment for papillary thyroid cancer or its variations. The patients were divided into four groups based on their BMI; normal weight, overweight, obese, and morbidly obese.

Obese and morbidly obese patients were significantly more likely than thinner patients to have stage 3 or 4 disease at diagnosis. The same patients were also more likely to have laryngeal nerve dysfunction after thyroidectomy.

While the cause of the increase in papillary thyroid cancer in the overweight and obese population could be multifactorial, the findings certainly provide one more reason to be concerned about the current obesity epidemic.

The reasons for these adverse findings are not yet certain, but the findings are enough to warrant more careful screening for thyroid cancer among obese patients. If you are an obese or morbidly obese patient and would like a screening, give us a call at (855) 360-9119.