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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Fukushima finds 16 new cases of thyroid cancer in young people - “unlikely” a direct result of the nuclear accident


Sixteen young people who lived near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, prefectural authorities said May 18, although they added it is “unlikely” a direct result of the nuclear accident.
Fukushima Prefecture has been conducting thyroid tests on about 385,000 residents and others who were 18 years old or younger at the time of the onset of the March 2011 nuclear disaster caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
A prefectural panel said the results of the first round of tests that concluded in March 2014 revealed the ratio of those diagnosed orsuspected of having thyroid cancer who live near the Fukushima plant was no different than the ratio of the same age group from elsewherein Japan.
The 16 new cases were detected between January and March, and bring the total number of young people diagnosed with the disease in the testing program to 103. Thyroid cancer can be confirmed only after surgery.
The prefecture is currently conducting its second survey of test subjects, which will be concluded in March 2016.
The latest 16 include 12 individuals who were suspected of having the disease during the first study, and four who were believed to have the disease during the second study.
According to prefectural officials, 112 young people were diagnosed or suspected of having thyroid cancer during the first study, with the figure at 15, thus far, in the second survey, bringing the total to date to 127 people.
Because babies and small children are particularly susceptible to the effects of radiation, many cases of thyroid cancer in infants were reported after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. However, this has not proven to be the case so far with regard to the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
The prefectural panel will further study the impact of radiation exposure on the frequency of thyroid cancer cases by comparing the findings of the first survey with results of the second study and future check-ups.
Source: Asahi Shimbun
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201505190041
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