Incidences of thyroid cancer on the rise among Fukushima children

TOKYO —

The number of under-18s in Fukushima Prefecture diagnosed with thyroid cancer has increased to 12, while the number of possible cases has reached 15, according to Kolnet, an online media source focused on the Tohoku region of Japan.

The numbers were released as part of an ongoing investigation by the Fukushima Prefecture Board of Health into the effects of the radiation released in the explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011. The investigation has examined about 174,000 adults and children from towns surrounding the crippled plant.

In the last report, made in February, there were only three confirmed cases of thyroid cancer and seven suspected cases.

According to a representative of Fukushima Medical University, which has been running the tests, they cannot conclusively link the incidences to Fukushima Daiichi, because although there were confirmed cases of cancer linked to the Chernobyl incident, many of these did not present until four or five years after or even later.

Some have pointed out that comparisons to the Chernobyl incident may not be particularly enlightening anyway, as intensive medical examinations into children exposed didn’t even begin until years after. Additionally, compared with that of Chernobyl, the population in Fukushima was exposed to less radiation, had more iodine in their diet, and had access to iodine prophylaxis, so the negative impact is expected to be much less.

However, according to one study that might be a more useful comparison, of 250 schoolchildren examined in Nagasaki in 2000, only 0.8% of them had thyroid nodules, of which none were found to be malignant. Additionally, the incidence of thyroid cancer in the general population is just one or two in 12 million children.

This suggests the numbers in Fukushima may already be high, and some experts believe they are even higher than the Board of Health investigation has claimed due to weaknesses in their methodology, such as not accounting for migration and not bringing children with small nodules in to be reexamined.

Source: Kolnet

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  • 7

    Pontepilate

    This comes just days after a UN draft report stated, "Japan's 2011 nuclear disaster 'unlikely' to have future health effects"... See UN News press release of June 4 2013. "Radiation exposure following the nuclear accident at Fukushima-Daiichi did not cause any immediate health effects. ...It is unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in future among the general public and the vast majority of workers". Where from did the exorbitantly paid UN functionaries get their information? TEPCO perhaps. Stop taking the people for fools...

  • 7

    Citizen2012

    Move the children out of Fukushima. I don't understand that nationwide silence about this.

  • 4

    smithinjapan

    They can only deny it for a couple more years, when of course it will be too late. Since there's a looming election, it would be nice if a politician had the stones to say if he or she were elected they would help try to relocate the kids/families.

  • 6

    Speed

    In my building and neighborhood alone, here in Shikoku, there have been five families w/ small children who've moved here from Chiba/Ibaragi/northern Saitama to be further away from Fukushima.

    Most of these families' husbands are still working away from and separated from their families for the time being. There's no financial or any other kind of assistance being given to them.

    They should move all children away from that area at Tepco's and the government's expense using the billions of yen donated by people but have yet to be disbursed. I heard about 3/4 to 2/3 of the money have yet to be allocated.

  • 1

    zichi

    @Speed

    They should move all children away from that area at Tepco's and the government's expense using the billions of yen donated by people but have yet to be disbursed. I heard about 3/4 to 2/3 of the money have yet to be allocated.

    you are way out on that. The JRC have given $1.3 billion to 15 prefectures which is more than 90% of all the money donated to the IRC.

  • 0

    Citizen2012

    Anyway, "Thank you" to Jessica Kozuka for informing about Children of Fukushima.

  • 1

    edojin

    See ... this is what has been predicted in numerous articles on the Japan Today site concerning the ongoing radiation problems at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Those predictions: the cancer rate will rise in the affected areas ... especially among the younger ones who are more prone to serious affects down the road.

    Despite soothing words from the government concerning radiation concerns, I believe the above article tells a more frightening story.

  • -1

    Ron Barnes

    Never Believe All that you Read in The Press. Makes Good headlines. thyroid Cancer Is a Direct Link To radiation Poisoning So how has been Drinking Contaminated water May be Someone needs to Check the local and City Water supply For radioactivity With a Giga counter .Would be Interested to Know how High the Reading is Any one able to do this .

  • 2

    Aristoman

    Experts were trying to tell you that Fukushima Daichi is build at wrong place in 2007, but Tepco refused to take it seriously. We also know what happen in Tchernobil, children got sick. If you believe that it will be different here in Japan, you might be naive.

  • 1

    Heda_Madness

    you are way out on that. The JRC have given $1.3 billion to 15 prefectures which is more than 90% of all the money donated to the IRC.

    Last week there was justified criticism of the Japanese Government for using money that was earmarked for the Tohoku reconstruction on non-Tohoku related cases. 15 Prefectures. How many were affected by the Tsunami...? It wasn't 15

  • 1

    Star-viking

    Hmmm. Another flawed news story from RocketNews.

    The Nagasaki study in 2000 is not useful, as they didn't use up-to-date ultrasonic scanners. Tests using these in Aomori, Yamanashi and Nagasaki found little difference between the 3 areas and Fukushima.

    http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201303090076

    Additionally, the incidence of thyroid cancer in the general population is just one or two in 12 million children.

    Really? Professor Tomohiro Matsuda and his colleagues give an incident rate of around 0.6 per 100,000 children.

    http://jjco.oxfordjournals.org/content/41/1/139.full.pdf

    We also have to consider if the advanced screening is picking up cancers which would normally have been found much later.

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