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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1996 Jun;5(6):425-31.

Reproductive history and cigarette smoking as risk factors for thyroid cancer in women: a population-based case-control study.

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  • 1Department of Cancer Epidemiology, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.


A population-based case-control study was conducted in Northern Norway and Central Sweden to investigate hormonal and reproductive factors and cigarette smoking as determinants of papillary and follicular thyroid carcinoma in women. Information on 191 histologically confirmed cases and 341 age-matched controls was included. No clear association was found with regard to the number of live births, number of pregnancies, a history of incomplete pregnancies, or the use of oral contraceptives or hormonal replacement therapy. However, an early first childbirth (before 20 years of age, or less than 5 years after menarche) was associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer. There was an increased risk of thyroid cancer among women with a history of artificial menopause compared to those with a spontaneous menopause [odds ratio (OR), 2.52; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.96-6.62], which was more pronounced for the papillary carcinoma and after adjustment for age at menopause and use of replacement therapy. Cigarette smokers had a decreased risk of borderline statistical significance compared to nonsmokers (OR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.47-1.01), particularly among premenopausal women (OR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.38-0.96). This negative association persisted after adjustment for parity, hormonal treatments, and education. Women who started smoking before the age of 15 experienced a marked reduction in risk (OR, 0.38%; 95% CI, 0.18-0.80¿). Moreover, there was a suggestion of a dose-response effect with the amount of cigarettes smoked daily and with duration of the habit. Both the increased risk of artificial menopause and the negative association with smoking are compatible with a relation between levels of estrogens and thyroid cancer among women.

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