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Is this as crazy as it sounds?

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Old 07-31-2009, 10:53 AM   #1
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Is this as crazy as it sounds?

Not long after I got my follicular Ca diagnosis in late 2005 I awoke early one morning with what seemed like an epiphany--I had figured out what caused my cancer! Some of the old timers on here might recall that crazy idea but for everyone else this is what I've come to think...not exactly my original theory, but a refinement.

I believe many thyroid cancers may be caused by over-exposure to high doses of...




UV radiation!

Yeah, call me crazy but let me tell you my thinking on this.

In the late 80's I did a lot of arc welding and did not always use the proper protective garb a professional weldor wears. Proper garb includes a leather jacket (backless) that protects the chest, arms and lower neck, and a helmet with a very dark lens. The welding helmet not only protects the eyes and face, it also adds a solid layer of protection to the lower neck and upper chest. As an amateur, part-timer, I usually just wore the helmet but because of my bifocals I held my head high so I could see the arc thru the bifocal lens. The old-timer who taught me to weld had upside-down bifocals so when he was welding he had to tilt his head and helmet down, where the helmet could protect the lower neck. I welded with my head held high, exposing my upper chest and lower neck to the flash from the arc weld. During that time that area was frequently "sun-burned" by the arc. I didn't even buy a welding jacket until I was almost through with my project (a large steel sailboat).

Here's where things get even more interesting: Thyroid cancers are more common in women than in men and I'd bet not many of those women did much welding.

But what about tanning beds?

To get an even tan one tends to tilt the head back under the lights so you don't get a white "shadow." This position exposes the thyroid gland to UV rays--filtered by the skin and flesh, to be sure, but it's getting some of it. If you don't believe that hold your hand up in front of the sun or a bright light and you can see the strong light through your hand!

Several weeks ago I posed this question on another forum, one that doesn't get nearly as many visitors as this one. Out of the 4 or 5 responses 2 were from guys who had a history of amateur or part-time welding! Both admitted they did not use proper protective garb or procedures when they were arc welding.

I have a two part question for everyone with thyroid cancer: (1) Did you ever do any welding and, if so, were you properly protected? (2) Have you ever made it a practice to spend some time in a tanning bed or similar, on a regular basis?

Last edited by Archie343; 07-31-2009 at 10:56 AM.

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Old 07-31-2009, 11:40 AM   #2
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Re: Is this as crazy as it sounds?

Hi Archie!

Could be...thyroid cancer is known to come from radiation, I think one of them (I'm not sure if it's follicular or pappillary) is what a lot of chernobyl survivors and their children have.

I had pappillary, and I wasn't exposed to tanning beds, I'm sure I got a lot of sun ( I was foolish and liked to tan), but nothing to the extent that you had. There was just something on the news yesterday about how dangerous the uv rays of the tanning beds are. The sun itself has a lot of radiation, and if you were overexposed---it concentrated on your neck, and got enough, it must be a possibility.

I know that little kids used to get radiation treatments for their tonsils, and a lot of those people wound up with thyroid cancer. My friend with follicular cancer blames it on the fact that her father, a doctor, was frustrated with a hand deformity she had, and had her x-rayed like crazy.

I once had a viral thyroiditis, and I'm pretty convinced the scarring from the virus lead to the nodule, which lead to the cancer.

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