How can I prevent thyroid cancer?

Many people develop thyroid cancer for no known reason, so prevention isn’t really possible. But if you know you’re at risk for thyroid cancer, you may be able to take these steps:

  • Preventive (prophylactic) surgery: Genetic tests can determine if you carry an altered gene (a mutation) that increases your risk for medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia. If you have the faulty gene, you may opt to have preventive (prophylactic) surgery to remove your thyroid gland before cancer develops.
  • Potassium iodide: If you were exposed to radiation during a nuclear disaster, such as the 2011 incident at Fukushima, Japan, taking potassium iodide within 24 hours of exposure can lower your risk of eventually getting thyroid cancer. Potassium iodide (Pima®) blocks the thyroid gland from absorbing too much radioiodine. As a result, the gland stays healthy.

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