Inderscience Publishers

Radiation-induced thyroid cancer: what we know and what we really understand

Results of the analysis of our own and literature data on the occurrence and development of radiation-induced thyroid cancer are presented. The analysis involved the distribution of the thyroid cancer incidence among 1 million children and 3 million adults, by age and sex, living in the radioactively contaminated territories of Russia; published data of the United Thyroid Cancer Registry of Russia and Byelorussia; results of medical examinations of the populations; and other information. Main attention was paid to the understanding of the latency period of spontaneous and radiation-induced cancers, comparison of oncopathology features in children and adults, and the role of screening in the increase of incidence rate parameters. The analysis permitted an offering of a new interpretation of several previously known facts and the developing of new explanations regarding the induction and development of radiogenic thyroid cancer, particularly regarding a far more significant increase of the thyroid cancer incidence in adults, living in the contaminated territories, than has been considered earlier.

Keywords: Chernobyl accident, thyroid cancer, children, adults, radiation, latency period, oncopathology, screening

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