Cancer rise could be caused by ‘old treatment’

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A CHESTERFIELD doctor believes radiation therapy carried out years ago may be party responsible for an increase in thyroid cancers medics are now seeing.

Rates of thyroid cancer in England have doubled in the last two decades.

And researchers believe one possible cause of the trend could be radiation treatment for other forms of cancer.

But they also believe the rise could be down to better diagnostic techniques.

Between 1990 and 1994 around 900 people were diagnosed with thyroid cancer each year in England.

By 2006-10 the figure increased to 1,950, according to the new report by the National Cancer Intelligence Network.

David Chadwick, consultant endocrine surgeon at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, said: “The exact reason behind this steep rise in thyroid cancer cases remains unclear.

“We now have more sensitive diagnostic techniques, so it could be that more cancers are being picked up when patients are being tested for other conditions.

“This could mean that we’re detecting and treating some cancers that would otherwise not have shown up during a person’s life.

“We may also be seeing a ‘real’ increase in the incidence of thyroid cancer, some of which may be due to improved long-term survival of other cancers previously treated with radiotherapy to the neck or chest. Sadly, older forms of radiotherapy had a side-effect that increased the risk of other cancers later in life.”