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May 28, 1982

Rare Cancers in Persons Exposed to Internal Radium

JAMA. 1982;247(20):2778-2779. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320450016010

To the Editor.—  Because persons with a substantial body burden of radium 226 are subject to certain radiogenic malignant neoplasms that are uncommon in the general population, it is important that their physicians be aware of the special risks in this unique patient population. Although there is a general feeling in the medical community that the radium dial painters are now simply an interesting part of medical history, in actuality more than 800 of these women are still alive. Many of them are seen regularly as subjects in a long-term study (supported by the US Department of Energy) that is being conducted by the Center for Human Radiobiology at Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Ill. In addition, there is another group of unknown size comprising the men and women who received radium water or injections of radium from physicians. A third group is composed of laboratory workers, mostly radium chemists. Many