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Japan Medicine

Experts Chime In To Explain Fukushima Thryoid Cancer Concerns (cancernetwork.com) 130

An anonymous reader writes: Experts and the lead author of the Fukushima study findings explain what the data really tells us and the flaws in claims that there is a link between the disaster and cancer rates. From the article: "It is too soon to determine the influence of radiation exposure on thyroid cancer risk among children and adolescents who were exposed to the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in Japan, according to the lead author of findings presented at the 15th International Thyroid Congress (ITC) and 85th Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association (ATA) this week in Lake Buena Vista, Florida."
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Experts Chime In To Explain Fukushima Thryoid Cancer Concerns

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  • Too soon (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 22, 2015 @07:40AM (#50779911)

    It is too soon to determine the influence of radiation exposure on thyroid cancer risk

    But they'll keep looking until they find something else that can be misinterpreted.

    • Re:Too soon (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @07:45AM (#50779929)

      The confirmed thyroid cancers identified in post-disaster screening thus far “appear to have already occurred prior to radiation exposure,”

      Which is exactly what you would expect when you begin thorough sensitive screening that has not been previously performed. It was the initial screenings where a majority of the cases were discovered, then much less in subsequent screenings.

      Unfortunately, this article doesn't get the press that the bullshit study articles did. Our media is in a sad state.

      • Really, so this research is correct and the other research is not. Nice cherry picking Potsy.

        What they article said is it's TOO EARLY to tell. It DID NOT say radiation exposure will not cause pediatric thyroid cancers.
        • No. There is no other research. That 'Study" from Toshihide Tsuda that was put forth that claimed thyroid association with Fukushima actually used the data from the studies these experts are performing, but purposely cherry picked that data and misrepresented it. The experts that conducted this study have very clearly explained why the conclusions of Toshihide Tsuda are bunk and that Tsuda clearly did not know what the data even meant.

          Tsuda has no expertise in these matters. I'll believe the cancer docto
      • The confirmed thyroid cancers identified in post-disaster screening thus far “appear to have already occurred prior to radiation exposure,”

        I can see it clearly now - the Fukushima nuclear accident was caused by increased thyroid cancer rates in the prefecture.

  • wh ATA b ITC h
  • Cancer causes radiation!
  • screening (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ssam ( 2723487 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @08:17AM (#50780047)

    If you give everyone an ultrasound then you find lots of nodules and cysts. Repeat the study in other parts of japan unaffected by radiation and you get the same.
    http://www.nature.com/articles... [nature.com]

    • Oh please no, I can see the headline now:
      "Fukushima accident caused high rates of cancer in Kagoshima, BE AFRAID!"

    • Re:screening (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@worl d 3 . net> on Thursday October 22, 2015 @12:00PM (#50781549) Homepage

      That was considered and rejected in the study showing elevated levels of thyroid cancer:

      The investigators noted that the approximately 30-fold overall increase in thyroid cancer incidence might be the result of a screening effect, meaning there could be silent thyroid cancer cases among children in the unscreened parts of Japan. They conclude, however, that the magnitude of the IRRs is too large to be explained by such an effect.

      They also compared this to the closest analog event in the history of nuclear power. âoeIn Chernobyl, excesses of thyroid cancer became more remarkable 4 or 5 years after the accident in Belarus and Ukraine, so the observed excess alerts us to prepare for more potential cases within a few years,â the authors wrote.

      This seems to be directly at odds with some of the claims made by this new study. A 30x increase seems difficult to explain away by better screening - especially when you look at the timing. If it was merely due to screening you would expect the higher levels to have been immediately apparent after the accident, rather than taking years to emerge. The new study also notes that the age of the victims does not align with what would normally be expected, but does not offer an explanation as to why.

      • by tomhath ( 637240 )

        This seems to be directly at odds with some of the claims made by this new study.

        The study *assumed* the higher rate was not due to a higher screening rate, but that assumption did not hold up when someone actually looked at real data instead of making an unsubstantiated assumption.

        We were surprised to see so many children with thyroid cancer,” said Dr. Nagataki, of Nagasaki University, the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, and the Radiation Effects Association in Tokyo. But “We did not find regional differences in the prevalence of thyroid cancer within Fukushima Prefecture...The confirmed thyroid cancers identified in post-disaster screening thus far “appear to have already occurred prior to radiation exposure,” Dr. Suzuki argued. ”

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          We were surprised to see so many children with thyroid cancer,â said Dr. Nagataki, of Nagasaki University, the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, and the Radiation Effects Association in Tokyo. But âoeWe did not find regional differences in the prevalence of thyroid cancer within Fukushima Prefecture...The confirmed thyroid cancers identified in post-disaster screening thus far âoeappear to have already occurred prior to radiation exposure,â Dr. Suzuki argued. â

          The journalist who wrote this article seems to be really confused here. It's like they chopped together a few unrelated statements that they thought were building towards the same point. Let's break it down:

          1. There are a surprising number of children with thyroid cancer. It isn't clear what is surprising - merely the number above the normally detected rate, or the number above the expected rate when you do mass screening.

          2. They did not find regional differences within Fukushima prefecture. This contradict

        • Yes, they found more cancers than they expected on the first screening pass. But the tumor sizes in those cases generally showed that they must have started before the accident, and the frequency within the population did not correlate at all with the exposure profile. So it was quite clear that something else is the cause of these initial high numbers.

          They are careful, as they should be, to not draw any conclusions as to how many cancers may eventually arise due to Fukushima radiation or any other cause
    • Radiation is dangerous and causes cancer. We know this, and have repeatedly proven that fact. We cover ourselves in lead when getting X-rays, and the operator takes the picture from a different and shielded room because radiation is dangerous. We have evacuated areas contaminated with radiation because decades of testing found radiation to be deadly in numerous ways both long term and short term.

      That children near Fukushima may have the same risks as children in a different area for one particular type o

      • by ssam ( 2723487 )

        Nobody disagrees that ionising radiation can cause cancer. But at the small doses that members of the public were exposed to there is valid debate over whether the increase in cancer risk is zero, almost zero or just tiny. Sensational headlines spread fear and stress, which likely is having a worse effect on people than the actual radiation.

  • I did my own study on the effects of radiation. Here are my findings:

    https://youtu.be/6YEarMyIAzs [youtu.be]

  • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @01:29PM (#50782363)

    Based on current knowledge, there *shouldn't* be any occurrences of thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer caused by these circumstances is a known problem with a known solution: giving everyone iodine tabets for a couple weeks. The solution is so simple and solid that this shouldn't have even need to be discussed.

    Yet for some reason tablets were not dispensed (http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201108298140), and now 'experts' are being paraded around to downplay real concerns.

    People like to claim that Fukushima shows the dangers of nuclear energy. It didn't. It showed the dangers of what happens when you hire idiots to run important infrastructure companies. It shows the dangers of electing scientifically ignorant morons to run a country.

    Now Japan is going to blanket the country with coal plants, which is ultimately going to be even worse because of all the radioactive elements that are gonna be spewed into the atmosphere. And that's ignoring the particulate crap and other compounds that will also be spewed from the coal, and the massive consumption of precious land that will now be necessary to hold all these new plants.

  • While the vitriol washes across the page and the duelling citations go to great indent levels, I'd just like to say, I don't care.

    Nobody cares about the 24,000 people dying of coal-related causes in the US every year (over 100,000 world wide), they're just dismissed (emotionally speaking, which translates to newspaper column-inches and TV minutes) as "background", life is tough, has some risks, cars hit people, crazy people shoot innocent people...etc.

    So you guys go ahead and argue whether the worldwide can

  • Thyroid cancer is one of those things that is incredibly easy to overdiagnose. Apparently about a third of people have "microtumors" in their thyroid, but only about 1 in 200,000 people die from thyroid cancer. Here's one article [medscape.com] that talks about the problem of overdiagnosis of thyroid cancer.
  • Radiation doesn't cause cancer now!

The nation that controls magnetism controls the universe. -- Chester Gould/Dick Tracy

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