Causing cancer

Published: Thursday 15 October 1992

THYROID cancer has started appearing sooner and spreading faster than expected among children exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in April, 1986, according to two studies.

A World Health Organisation team of pathologists and epidemiologists detected 102 cases of malignant thyroid cancer, usually not found among the children of Belarus, a former Soviet republic near the Chernobyl site. Some of the children affected were not born when the accident occurred.

In another study, Vasili S Kazakov of the Belarus Ministry of Health in Minsk, and his colleagues found that 65 such cases have appeared since 1990 among the children of Gomel district, the most irradiated region studied. Gomel's normal incidence rate is one or two cases per year.

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