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2011年3月31日木曜日

Researchers study cancer risks for Chernobyl survivors
NEW YORK, New York (CBS) -- The National Cancer Institute has released a new study on the cancer risks for the people who lived through Chernobyl.
The world's worst nuclear accident happened at the Chernobyl plant in the Soviet Union in April 1986. A reactor explosion sent radioactive iodine into the air. Now a new study finds that the risk of thyroid cancer for children and teens at the time of the accident continues decades of later.
Dr. Robert J. McConnell with the NY Presbyterian-Columbia University Medical Center says, "The thyroid of children and adolescents is particularly sensitive to the cancer causing effects of radioactive iodine."
Dr. McConnell is one of the study's author's. More than 12 000 people were studied all were under 18 years old at the time of the Chernobyl accident. They were screened for thyroid cancer up to four times, years after the incident and 65 were found to have the disease. Radioactive iodine, which accumulates in the thyroid, causes cancer. But researchers found that most of the radioactivity did not come from the air.
Dr. McConnell says, "The greatest amt of radioactive iodine exposure came from ingestion of contaminated milk and vegetables."
As the world waits to see the impact of the Japanese nuclear accident, Studies like this one could provide scientists important information about cancer and radiation exposure.
Dr. James O'Donnell with University Hospitals Case Medical Center says, "We can have a better estimate of what their long term risk is and we can set up long term follow up, or example, people getting regular thyroid exams and looking for the development of nodules or abnormalities that may lead to cancer."
And nearly 25 years later, there is still uncertainty for the children of Chernobyl. Researchers don't know when, or if, their risk of cancer will decrease.

(Source: CBS Newspath)

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