, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 47-55

Thyroid cancer incidence in Ukraine: trends with reference to the Chernobyl accident

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Abstract

For the first time, a comparative analysis of thyroid cancer incidence in Ukraine after the Chernobyl accident was done in a cohort that is almost as large as the general population. On the basis of thyroid doses from radioactive iodine in individuals aged 1–18 years at the time of accident, geographic regions of Ukraine with low and high average accumulated thyroid doses were established and designated “low-exposure” and “high-exposure” territories, respectively. A significant difference of thyroid cancer incidence rates as a function of time between the two territories was found. That is, the increase in the incidence was higher in high-exposure regions than in low-exposure regions. The incidence rates varied substantially among the different attained age-groups, especially in the youngest one (up to 19 years old). The analysis that was adjusted for screening and technological effects also indicated that in the high-exposure regions, thyroid cancer incidence rates at the age of diagnosis of 5–9, 10–14 and 15–19 years were significantly higher in those born in 1982–1986 compared to those born in 1987–1991, while in the low-exposure regions, no significant difference was observed. The observed probable excess of radiation-induced thyroid cancer cases in adults exposed to radioactive iodine from the Chernobyl accident, especially in females, may be due to the high power of the present study. However, it should be noted that our investigation was not essentially free from ecological biases.