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Extrapolation from Large-Scale Radiation Exposures: Cancer

  • Charles E. Land
Part of the Basic Life Sciences book series

Abstract

The risk of cancer following exposure to ionizing radiation is a minor public health problem (less than 3% of all cancer deaths plausibly can be attributed to radiation, including natural background (Jablon and Bailar, 1980), vs. about 30% for cigarette smoking (US Surgeon General, 1982)), about which we know a great deal and for which we are being required to give exceedingly specific estimates (Public Law 97–414, 1983). How has this come about? There is and has been great public concern about radiation hazards, certainly, and much misinformation is abroad that requires correction. But fundamentally, I believe, the present situation results from a history of highly productive research into the biological effects of ionizing radiation. The first-order results of this research, that there are health hazards associated with exposure and that these hazards can be serious for high enough exposures, have naturally led to demands for second- and third-order inferences: how great are the hazards from low-level exposure, how is the hazard from any level of exposure distributed over time after exposure, how does sensitivity vary by age, sex, and other host parameters, and how does radiation interact with other risk factors?

Keywords

Cancer Risk Radiation Exposure Excess Risk Bone Cancer Relative Excess Risk 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles E. Land
    • 1
  1. 1.Radiation Epidemiology BranchNational Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA

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