Because the endocrine system consists of glands located throughout the body, prevention tactics can vary. In some cases, these cancers are caused by hereditary factors, which can’t be prevented.

For the most common form of endocrine cancer, thyroid cancer, the cause is often unknown, so no prevention strategies currently exist for people at average risk of the disease. However, if you are at high risk of developing thyroid cancer because of an inherited gene mutation, you may be advised to have surgery to remove your thyroid.

Because radiation exposure is a major risk factor for thyroid cancer, if you live close (within 10 miles) to a nuclear power plant, you may be able to receive medication called potassium iodide to use in the event of nuclear fallout. (Contact your local or state emergency management office for more information.)

If you’re concerned about your risk for thyroid and other endocrine cancers, speak with your doctor. He or she can offer guidance on cancer prevention based on your specific health history or circumstances.