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Thyroid Supplements and Breast Cancer

Jack R. Harnes, MD
JAMA. 1976;236(24):2746. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270250013012.
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To the Editor.—  The anxiety created in one of my patients by the publicity given the article by Kapdi and Wolfe prompts the following comments:

  1. I find it remarkable that the authors accepted as fact that all 635 patients receiving thyroid supplements had hypothyroidism or simple goiter. My experience has been that the majority of women receiving thyroid medication have not and have never had any thyroid disease.

  2. Since these women often have received thyroid medication for fatigue, obesity, menstrual irregularity, or psychoneurotic complaints, I cannot help but wonder what percentage were also taking estrogen supplements or other medications.

  3. One must also wonder what percentage of the nulliparous women, who had the highest incidence of breast cancer, were nulliparous because they had been taking birth control pills, which some authorities incriminate as a cause of breast cancer.

  4. If one subtracts the patients in Table 5 from


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