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What causes cysts on the thyroid gland?

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Quick Answer

Causes of cysts on the thyroid gland include a family history of thyroid nodules, iodine deficiency and thyroid cancer, according to Cleveland Clinic. Thyroid cancer is a rare cause of thyroid cysts and is found in less than 5 percent of all thyroid nodules.

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Iodine deficiency occurs when a person does not consume enough iodine for the normal production of thyroid hormone, notes the American Thyroid Association. Iodine deficiency can cause the thyroid to enlarge, hypothyroidism and mental retardation in children whose mothers had iodine deficiency during pregnancy. Symptoms of these complications include choking, difficulty swallowing and breathing, and miscarriage. Iodine can be obtained from foods such as iodized table salt, seafood, dairy products, eggs and supplements containing iodine.

Thyroid cancer is the most-common form of endocrine cancer whose diagnosis is on the rise, explains Healthline. There are five types of thyroid cancer, including papillary, medullary, follicular, anaplastic and thyroid lymphoma. Papillary thyroid cancer occurs in 80 percent of patients with thyroid cancer and is less dangerous than the other types. Risk factors that contribute to the development of the disease include a family history of thyroid cancer, the female gender, radiation exposure and age. Symptoms of thyroid cancer develop over time and include a lump in the throat, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing and enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.

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