Radioactive exposure 'increases risk of aggressive thyroid cancer'

A new study of 11,664 people in Belarus who were exposed as a child or teenager to radioactive iodine as a result of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster has revealed that aggressive forms of the cancer are more likely as a result.

Previous research has shown that radioactive iodine exposure increases thyroid cancer in a dose-dependent manner, said Dr Lydia Zablotska, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at University of California San Francisco.

However, the new study shows that the radiation is related to specific clinical features of the tumours that are more aggressive, she continued. 

The findings could have implications for those that were exposed to radiation following the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan. 

Studies into the impact of the Chernobyl disaster led by Dr Zablotska have shown for the first time that exposure to radioactive iodine after the incident is associated with a number of different thyroid diseases. 

Exposure has been linked to malignant and benign - follicular adenomas - tumours. Both types of disease are treated in the same way, namely removing the thyroid gland and using medication to replace the lost hormones, which is a costly form of treatment.   

Posted by Philip Briggs​

 

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