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March 1, 2006

Thyroid Disease 60 Years After Hiroshima and 20 Years After Chernobyl

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: International Epidemiology Institute, Rockville, Md, and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn.

JAMA. 2006;295(9):1060-1062. doi:10.1001/jama.295.9.1060

Thyroid cancer was the first solid tumor reported to be increased in frequency among atomic bomb survivors.1 Subsequent surveys found a significant excess of papillary thyroid cancer but not of follicular, medullary, or anaplastic cancer.2,3 A straight line adequately describes the relationship between radiation dose and thyroid cancer incidence, relative risks are similar in males and females, and age at exposure substantively influences risk. Risk is highest for children exposed when younger than 10 years, and there is no significant increase in risk of thyroid cancer for those exposed after age 20 years. Radiation-induced thyroid cancers are rarely fatal, but the risk per unit dose following exposure in childhood is higher than for any other radiation-induced malignancy.4