Treatment of hyperthyroidism and breast irradiation
If you want to see an overview on the history of the use of thyroid irradiation, don't fail visiting this site.
It starts out by saying that hyper-thyroidism was the subject of repeated battles between surgeons and radiologists. In the decades 1920-1930 and 1930-1940, an almost endless literature appeared with two separate conclusions, each staunchly defended, (a) hyper-thyroidism is a disorder to be treated surgically or (b) hyper-thyroidism can be better treated in a high percentage of the cases by ionizing radiation, either with radium or x-rays. An occasional author would suggest there might be an intermediate ground, but that was definitely not the rule.
Even in this early period there was no agreement on the causes of the disorder -as there is not today, many years later- there are papers showing the doubts that existed on zapping the thyroid or its function.
Some advocated pituitary irradiation, thymus irradiation, others, adrenal irradiation in addition to thyroid irradiation.
In 1932 Menville, after a survey he did among radiologists in the USA accumulated data on 10,541 cases of hyperthyroidism, and reported that "the excellent results obtained are also thought to be due in a measure to the irrradiation of the thymus gland".
In the above quoted page, Prof. Dr. Gofman shows his calculations on the hyper-thyroidism therapy's contribution to breast-dose.