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February 1960

The Role of X-Ray Therapy to the Neck Region in the Production of Thyroid Cancer in Young People: A Report of Thirty-Seven Cases

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and The John Hopkins Hospital. Assistant in Medicine (Dr. Wilson); Associate Professor of Medicine (Dr. Asper).

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1960;105(2):244-251. doi:10.1001/archinte.1960.00270140066007

Duffy and Fitzgerald,1 in 1950, first called attention to the frequent association of x-ray therapy to the thymus gland of infants to the later appearance of thyroid carcinoma. Subsequently many clinical reports have appeared, not only substantiating this association2-8 but enlarging it to include any early irradiation received about the head and neck. Although these subsequent data have not provided definitive proof that a causal relationship exists between the two, they have indicated a sufficiently high frequency of occurrence to imply guilt by association. A history of previous irradiation, however, has not been found in all children with thyroid cancer,9-13 and the possible fallacies of drawing too strong inferences of cause and effect between the one and the other have been pointed out.13 Duffy14 has recently summed up his experiences, and the present study, although not supplying unequivocal proof, is in agreement with his conclusion that the bulk of evidence

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