Exposure to ionizing radiation increases the risk of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), but such risks are not known in well-differentiated thyroid cancer (WDTC) patients treated with radioactive iodine (RAI). A total of 148 215 WDTC patients were identified from Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results registries between 1973 and 2014, of whom 54% underwent definitive thyroidectomy and 46% received adjuvant RAI. With a median follow-up of 6.6 years, 77 and 66 WDTC patients developed MDS and MPN, respectively. Excess absolute risks for MDS and MPN from RAI treatment when compared to background rates in the US population were 6.6 and 8.1 cases per 100 000 person-years, respectively. Compared to background population rates, relative risks of developing MDS (3.85 (95% confidence interval, 1.7-7.6); P = 0.0005) and MPN (3.13 (1.1-6.8); P = 0.012) were significantly elevated in the second and third year following adjuvant RAI therapy, but not after thyroidectomy alone. The increased risk was significantly associated with WDTC size ≥2 cm or regional disease. Development of MDS was associated with shorter median overall survival in WDTC survivors (10.3 vs 22.5 years; P<0.001). These data suggest that RAI treatment for WDTC is associated with increased risk of MDS with short latency and poor survival.