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Experts: More data needed to assess radiation’s role in cancer among Fukushima kids via The Asahi Shimbun

Health experts are at odds on whether radiation from the Fukushima nuclear accident led to an unexpectedly high occurrence rate of thyroid gland cancer among children in Fukushima Prefecture.

The prefectural government has been conducting thyroid gland tests on all children in the prefecture who were 18 or younger when the nuclear crisis began to unfold in March 2011.

Twelve of the 174,000 children who have undergone the comprehensive checkups have been found with thyroid gland cancer, with an additional 16 suspected of having the disease.

A majority of radiologists, as well as the prefectural government, have dismissed speculation that radiation from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant had any role in the numbers. But others said it is premature to make any assessment based on the currently available data.

The figures mean about one in every 15,000 children in Fukushima Prefecture has thyroid gland cancer. The rate soars to one in every 6,000 if the suspected cases are included.

Those figures are higher than the thyroid gland cancer occurrence rate of 1.7 in every 100,000 individuals between the ages 15 and 19 in Miyagi and three other prefectures in 2007.
[...]
Kazuo Shimizu, a Nippon Medical School professor who was recently appointed to a prefectural government panel to discuss the test results, takes a more cautious stance.

“With the data we currently have, there is no way of telling if radiation has had any impact,” Shimizu said. “A large-scale study is necessary to test the thyroid glands of children in similar age brackets who were never exposed to radiation.”

Read more.
◇See 4 members leave Fukushima health panel.

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