The investigative committee of Healthcare Control Survey for Fukushima Residents, which has been conducting research on the Fukushima nuclear accident and the health of the residents in Fukushima prefecture, has made a public announcement after the committee meeting on August 20, about the results of the ongoing thyroid examinations.
According to the announcement, 44 of the children who were under 18 at the time of the nuclear accident, and who have already had thyroid examinations, have so far been diagnosed as “malignant cases” or “cases of suspected malignancy” by the end of July. Among these 44 cases, one case was confirmed as “benign” cancer after surgery.
Looking closely at the other 43 cases, since the last report on June 12, 2013, 6 more children have been, after surgery, confirmed as having thyroid cancer and that now makes the total number 18. The cases of suspected thyroid cancer are now 25, an increase by 10 cases since the last report.
The Fukushima Medical University reports that, after the nuclear accident in March 2011, 176 648 children have undergone the initial screening test. Among them, 1167 children were summoned to take a second examination. The actual number who had such a second examination was 768. Cytodiagnosis has been conducted on 206 of these 768 children. 43 children, about 20 % of the 206 cases, have been diagnosed as “malignant” or “suspected malignancy”.
The previous meeting of the committee reported that the youngest child who was confirmed with malignancy was 11 years old (9 at the time of the accident). However, in the latest report an 8-year old girl (6 at the time of the accident) is said to have been diagnosed as malignant.
Hokuto Hoshi, the committee chairperson and the head of the association of doctors in Fukushima prefecture, commented during the press conference that it is difficult to determine the influence of the radiation originated from the nuclear accident on the thyroid cancer cases. However, Hoshi also mentioned that the committee is prepared to do further research of this issue since the cause-effect relationship is not yet fully understood.
Shinichi Suzuki, the professor of Fukushima Medical University, expressed scepticism concerning the relationship between the cancer and the accident, saying that it is unlikely that the cancers had started to grow in the last 2-3 years, considering the size of the carcinoma cells.
The total of 360 000 children under 18 at the time of the accident are the subjects of the thyroid examinations in Fukushima. Only less than half of the children have undergone the two stage examinations. The rest of the children have not yet even been through the initial thyroid screening test.
Written by WNSCR team