Graves’ disease is a type of autoimmune problem that causes generalized over-activity of the complete thyroid gland i.e., hyperthyroidism. Graves’ disease activates from a procedure performed by the immune system of a human body that usually provides protection from viruses, bacteria and various other foreign invaders. Immune system of the body destroys harmful invaders with the help of antibodies substances produced by lymphocytes blood cells. However, in some cases, immune system tricked to create anti-bodies, which cross-react with cells’ proteins.

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In most of the situations, antibodies cause destruction of protein cells. Moreover, if an individual suffers from Graves’ disease, antibodies commonly referred as TRAb i.e. thyrotropin receptor antibodies or TSI i.e. thyroid stimulating immunoglobulins perform their functions in an opposite way i.e. forces the cells to work more. These antibodies bind to thyroid cells’ receptors and stimulate them to overproduce or release more thyroid hormones. Hence, Graves’ disease causes overactive thyroid popularly known as hyperthyroidism.

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Thyroid Cancer Introduction

Cancer starts in humans whenever cells of the body start to grow out of their control. Whenever cells of the thyroid gland grow excessively to spread to other parts of a human body, it causes thyroid cancer.

Can Graves’s Disease Turn into Cancer?

What is the connection between graves’ disease and thyroid cancer? According to a review obtained in the Hormone and Metabolic Research, prevalence of the problem of thyroid cancer in patients suffering from hyperthyroidism varies largely i.e. from minimum 1.6 percent to up to 21.1 percent. Moreover, the research study reveals that a large number of carcinomas in the research study are of less than or equal to 10 mm i.e. microcarcinomas, because of which its clinical significance is not sure.

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Variation in this case may cause because of different factors, like extent of histological examination associated with the removal of thyroid tissues, extent and cause of hyperthyroidism and criteria to choose surgery for the treatment of hyperthyroidism and geographical differences in cancer problems and rates. Papillary thyroid carcinoma is the frequently highlighted type of cancer. In a majority of cases, carcinomas found in an incidental manner during the thyroids postoperative based histological examination.

The link between the thyroid cancer and Graves’ hyperthyroidism has always remained controversial because of huge variation in cancer rates from only 0.5 percent to up to 15 percent. Annual incidence associated with thyroid cancer has obtained as 175 among 100,000 than 0.5 to 8 among 100,000 in general population of euthyroid.

Moreover, the study highlighted and proved that about 88 percent of cancers in individuals suffering from Graves’ disease had caused because of microcarcinomas. Moreover, patients suffering from Graves’ problem or hyperthyroidism and microcarcinomas highlighted a long disease free type of survival and improved prognosis as compared to the case of euthyroid patients with almost equal size of cancers.

Patients suffering from Graves’ disease remain at relatively higher risk to cause thyroid cancer than those patients suffering from diffused goiter do. Thyroid cancers often found in patients incorporating thyroid nodules in the goiters of Graves than those with diffused form of goiter without any nodule. Moreover, Graves’ disease links with multifocal, large size and highly aggressive type of thyroid cancer as compared to single or multiple nodules.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: May 16, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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