This is the official website of


Can't we ever learn from the past?

glasses The fragment below, is a quote from the book “Your Thyroid, a home reference” by Dr Lawrence C. Wood, M. D., David S. Cooper, M.D., and E. Chester Ridgway, M. D.

The Thyroid and Radiation

"In the 1920s physicians began to use radiation (X rays) to treat non cancerous disorders. One of the more common problems that was treated in this manner was an enlargement of the thymus gland in newborns. The thymus gland is located behind the breastbone and is important for normal immune function.

Other conditions treated in this manner included enlarged tonsils or adenoids, birthmarks, whooping cough, acne and ringworm of the scalp.

Treatment was given by means of an X-ray machine (“external beam irradiation”) or by placing radioactive material, such as radium, in or on the tissue to be treated.

For many years radiation was considered good medical therapy for some of these problems. For example deafness was improved when radium treatments shrank enlarged lymph tissue compressing the internal ear canal. Acne could be markedly improved by radiation, resulting in less facial scarring. In short, radiation therapy was used because it seemed safe and effective.

Unfortunately the thyroid gland, located as it is at the front of the neck, often received radiation inadvertently during treatment for these conditions.

In the 1950s physicians began to notice an increased number of benign and malignant thyroid tumors among patients who had been given radiation therapy years earlier.

atom1 The fact that the radiation had caused the thyroid tumors was substantiated when it was found that many individuals exposed to atomic-bomb radiation or fallout also developed thyroid tumors in later years.

When these facts became known, these forms of radiation therapy were of course discontinued.

Nevertheless it is estimated that between one and two million people across the United States received radiation treatments in childhood or adolescence between 1920 and the early 1960s.

Subsequent large-scale studies of thyroid cancer frequency in radiated and non radiated control groups have established beyond doubt the relationship between radiation exposure and thyroid cancer."




Atomic Women is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice.
The information provided through this web site should not be used for diagnosing or treating a disease.
It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your doctor.