New Report Released: 7 More Cancer Cases Confirmed, Now 75 Confirmed/Suspected Thyroid Cancer Cases Among Fukushima Children
Fukushima Med Univ Will Use the Cancer Tissues for the Genetic Analysis
Fourteenth Prefectural Oversight Committee convened on February 7, 2014, releasing the results of the latest thyroid examination as part of the prefectural health
A summary of the results is provided below:
Total number of children examined as of December 31, 2013: 269,354
Total number of children whose initial examination results are confirmed: 254,280
(up to the November 15, 2013 examination)
Assessment A1 134,805 (53.0%) (no nodules or cysts found)
Assessment A2 117,679 (46.3%) (nodules 5.0 mm or smaller or cysts 20.0 mm or smaller)
Assessment B 1,795 (0.7%) (nodules 5.1 mm or larger or cysts 20.1 mm or larger)
Assessment C 1 (0.0%) (requiring immediate secondary examination)
Secondary examination includes more detailed thyroid ultrasound, blood and urine tests, and fine-needle aspiration biopsy if
1,796 are eligible for secondary examination
1,490 have actually undergone secondary examination
1,342 finished the secondary examination
In summary, there were 7 more cancer cases confirmed since the last report on November 12, 2013. One case was confirmed in a female from Namie Town, 5 in Koriyama City, and 1 in Izumizaki Village.
The total number of cases confirmed or suspected of cancer is 75. Of these, 34 had surgeries as of December 31, 2013, and 1 turned out to be a benign nodule, 32 were confirmed to be papillary thyroid cancer, and 1 still has no confirmed cytological diagnosis but listed as poorly differentiated thyroid cancer.
Shinichi Suzuki, a Fukushima Medical University physician in charge of the thyroid ultrasound examination, cautioned against jumping to the conclusion about this "poorly differentiated cancer" which normally is associated with a poor prognosis. Although he did not elaborate on details, he said the diagnostic criteria for poorly differentiated thyroid cancer have recently changed. This was the case which, initially thought of as papillary thyroid cancer, was undergoing cytological reevaluation by pathologists who are still not sure about the exact subtype.
Interestingly, the first thing Suzuki mentioned, when it was his turn to present the thyroid examination results at the committee meeting, was the news post published today in multiple newspapers regarding the Fukushima Medical University beginning a genetic analysis of the cancer tissues. The news post states that Fukushima Medical University will use the thyroid cancer tissues, excised during surgeries, to analyze for genetic alterations to help figure out why the cancer originated. What was odd was that Suzuki, as if avoiding a swarm of questions, offered an explanation that such genetic analyses are routinely performed on adult cancer specimen using the special research money and approved by the University's ethics committee. He emphasized that the genetic analysis was totally separated from the thyroid ultrasound examination. He asked for an understanding as he felt it was the mission of Fukushima Medical University to conduct the genetic analysis in order to watch over the children's future.
As for the perceived "slow" speed of confirming the cancer cases, Suzuki said that some of the cases suspected of cancer did not warrant immediate surgeries, allowing for the children to live their lives with close monitoring.
As usual, no information was offered such as the type of nodules and also details of each surgical case which, as part of regular medical care, are considered beyond the scope of the screening and thus inaccessible to the Health Management Survey team.
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