Kristiana Rood Ria Laxa Andrea Shields Hae-Soo Kim Salma Khan


In the United States, thyroid cancer incidence has increased dramatically within the last few decades. Recent research suggests that this incidence along with cancer stage and mortality vary by race/ethnicity, highlighting health disparities in the United States. There are several risk factors for thyroid cancer incidence that may contribute to these disparities. The goal of this literature review is to analyze whether these potential risk factors impact incidence and aggressiveness differently by race/ethnicity, implicating their possible role in influencing thyroid cancer disparities in the United States. Through PubMed searches, we have reviewed recent literature on U.S. populations. We found that chromosomal alterations/non-hereditary conditions, autoimmunity, thyroid nodules, and socioeconomic differences potentially impacted thyroid cancer incidence and aggressiveness by race/ethnicity, whereas sex disparities did not. Six potential risk factors showed some variations by race/ethnicity but either did not specifically examine their relationship to thyroid cancer or did not impact thyroid cancer incidence and aggressiveness. Three other potential risk factors have not yet been studied regarding their influence on thyroid cancer incidence and outcomes for racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Therefore, we identify a critical need for subsequent research to examine these potential risk factors for different racial/ethnic groups and contribute toward our understanding of racial/ethnic health disparities in the United States. We also present several research areas relating to thyroid cancer health disparities that require further study.