Fukushima Disaster Impact: Rise in Cancer Among Children


The rise of cancer among children from Fukushima indicates towards the impact of nuclear disaster in the region.

The number of children who are confirmed with thyroid cancer has gone up to 116 in Fukushima. Sixteen children from the north-east prefecture of the country are confirmed as new cases of thyroid cancer and another 35 are under suspicion of having the disease, reported The Telegraph.

The rise of cancer in the region came to the light when on the fifth anniversary of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, the government conducted a screening of around 300,000. The children were under the age of 18 and are all from the Fukushima region. The children were aged between 6 and 8 during the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The children born in the Pacific Coast of the United States are also facing the risk for thyroid cancer as radioactive cesium isotopes from the leaking nuclear reactors in Fukushima have reached the Pacific shores, stated Integrative Cancer Answers.

Meanwhile experts have remained divided on the long term potential health impact of the exposure on children. This is because it is not possible to directly connect an individual case of cancer with radiation exposure.

An article, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, stated that the consequences of the 2011 Fukushima disaster were unclear. The clinical consequences of exposure are of different types. At the molecular level, radiation exposure damages the DNA. This damage can be fully repaired but sometimes results in dysfunction, carcinogenesis, or cell death. The clinical effect of radiation exposure depends on type of exposure. The article cites the example of Chernobyl nuclear disaster and said that there was a rise of secondary thyroid cancer among the children in the region.

However, people around the world are concerned about the nuclear exposure and the possible health risk related to it. Consequently, North Korea’s recent nuclear test is highly criticized by the world community.

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