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Breast cancer and thyroid disease

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      Abstract

      Clinical and epidemiologic studies raise the question of whether there might be a positive correlation between the incidence of goiter and the incidence of breast cancer. It appears that areas plagued with goiter tend to have a high breast cancer mortality rate. Conversely, areas with a low incidence of goiter seem to have a low breast cancer fatality rate. While such evidence is far from conclusive, it may be justifiable to regard the data as provocative and meriting further inquiry.
      From the experimental laboratory there is evidence that impairment of thyroid function may affect the mammary gland to a considerable degree. This effect upon the breast appears to be mediated through the ovary secondary to pituitary activity which has been initiated by the thyroid dysfunction.
      The possibility exists that goiter may indicate an endocrine abnormality of significance in human breast cancer. It appears to us that continued intensive study of the hormonal aspects of breast cancer is in order and also that a study of the phylogenetic relationship of hormone development to neoplasia might be warranted.
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