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More Fukushima Children Found With Thyroid Cancer

Another periodic report from the Fukushima Health Survey has found more thyroid cancers in children. Another 14 cancers were confirmed since the last report in May 2014. This brings the total number of thyroid cancers (confirmed or suspected) at 103. Some news outlets were reporting it as 104 but one case was confirmed during surgery to have not been a malignant cancer.

Of the 295,689 children given an initial examination 48.5% had some form of nodule or cyst. The rate of cancer or number of children receiving a biopsy is not a full representation of the population yet as not all examinations or secondary examinations have been completed. The data released is hard to make clear conclusions from as important portions are frequently not included making it hard for people to connect the dots about cause and effect from exposures. Some municipal data has been included but as it is incomplete, it is hard to draw any conclusions from that yet. 

In a meeting prior to the new report experts involved with the Health Survey defended their decision to do thyroidectomy surgeries. The vice president of Fukushima Medical University made this statement.
Fukushima Medical University has been conducting thyroid ultrasound examination, and so far there are a total of 90 confirmed or suspected malignant cases. Of these, 51 had surgeries and 50 were confirmed to be cancer, including microcarcinoma smaller than 10 mm. Our facility is only operating on cases which are deemed high risk.”

As the screenings move into the second round Fukushima Voice made this important observation:

We must keep close tabs on how the number of thyroid cancer cases might change from the first to the second round. If it’s truly a screening effect, the second round should not yield as many thyroid cancers.”

The Health Survey has been less than transparent in what data they release. Many times the date given makes it impossible to perform any sort of outside analysis or obtain a clear picture of what is going on. The survey has refused to release any sort of raw data or additional information in a way that allows for any sort of review or confirmation that their reports accurately present the real situation. It is also impossible to connect one’s actual exposure to the health outcome due to the lack of transparency. It would be possible to release more data without compromising patient privacy.

image credit | AFP

 

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