State report can't pinpoint reason for higher rate of thyroid cancer cases in Iredell County

IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. — A state report on thyroid cancer in Iredell County couldn’t pinpoint what’s behind the high rate of cases in the area.

The report prepared by staff with the NC Central Cancer Registry was sent to the director of the Iredell Department of Public Health.

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It found the rate of thyroid cancer diagnosis in Iredell County was significantly higher than the rate across North Carolina between 2005 and 2016. A higher rate was also found in the southeastern and southwestern sections of the county.

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The report could not point to reasons for the higher rate of thyroid cancer cases in southern Iredell County.

“This should have been done years ago,” Dr. Scott Lynn said.

His 16-year-old daughter and ex-wife were diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

“To see them go through that is horrible,” Lynn said.

Officials said radiation is the only known environmental factor linked to thyroid cancer, and they couldn’t find any evidence of increased exposure to radiation.

[CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THYROID CANCER]

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said it will continue to monitor the thyroid cancer rates across the state and provide information to researchers working to investigate potential causes.

“That’s extremely frustrating,” Lynn said. “I think the state needs to get ahead of it for the public safety.”