Wednesday, September 12, 2012

One Case of Thyroid Cancer Found Among 80,000 Fukushima Children Tested So Far

The researchers say it has nothing to do with the nuclear accident, and the child must have developed the thyroid cancer before the accident.

From Kyodo News (9/11/2012):

18歳以下1人が甲状腺がん 福島健康調査8万人分析

One case of thyroid cancer, under 18, according to the health survey of 80,000


The committee for "Fukushima Health Management Survey" to study the effect of radiation from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident (headed by Shunichi Yamashita, Vice President of Fukushima Medical University) held a meeting on September 11, and it was reported that one case of thyroid cancer had been found among the subjects of the thyroid testing who were 18 years old and younger at the time of the accident.


About 360,000 [children] are scheduled to have thyroid examinations. So far, 80,000 children have been examined and the results are in.


Professor Shinichi Suzuki of Fukushima Medical University, which is in charge of the examinations, denied the effect of radiation exposure, saying in the committee meeting, "It took the minimum 4 years after the Chernobyl nuclear accident that a first case of thyroid cancer was reported. In Fukushima, there has been no external radiation exposure like in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and no internal radiation exposure like in Chernobyl."

It's either Kyodo News misquoted Professor Suzuki or Professor Suzuki misrepresented the fact that 4 years after the Chernobyl accident the cases of thyroid cancer started to increase.

As to the supposed absence of internal radiation exposure, Professor Suzuki had better ask people like Mayor Abe of Kawasaki City (who's intent on force-feeding children with cesium oranges) or the Board of Education of Koriyama City (who wants to teach children about global warming by making them suffer through summer heat and radiation).

According to the latest data from Fukushima Prefecture, the examinations done in the fiscal 2012 (that started on April 1, 2012) so far are for children in Fukushima City (from May to August). Other major cities in Nakadori (middle third) are scheduled for later in the year, starting with Nihonmatsu City and Motomiya City in September. Testing in Koriyama City starts in October.

Compared to the results in the fiscal 2011 (that ended on March 31, 2012), the percentage of children with nodules or cysts of any size are larger in Fukushima City at 43.7%, compared to 35.8% in the fiscal 2011 results. Whether that means anything seems to depend on who you ask.

(Label translation is mine. The original document by Fukushima Prefecture is in Japanese only.)

All I know so far is that before the Fukushima nuclear accident, there were no routine thyroid checks for children; for that matter, there were none for adults either, unless thyroid problems were suspected by the doctors from other symptoms. In other words, there is no baseline data.

In the absence of the baseline data, there are some fantastic stories circulating on Twitter and blogs in Japan. Here's a togetter talking about: "According to my doctor, 40% of children tested in Kanagawa Prefecture were found with cysts on their thyroids!" and "I heard 40% of children tested in Kagoshima Prefecture had cysts!" The natural conclusion among people who were tweeting this horrible news is that the entire Japan is so contaminated that children are developing thyroid "abnormalities" everywhere in Japan.

A more logical conclusion (since Kagoshima is not contaminated with radioactive materials of Fukushima origin) is that maybe it is quite normal for about 40% of children at any location at any time to have small growths on their thyroids. But Japan has long ceased to be logical.

Someone even created an official-looking document saying "We were told that only Fukushima Medical University is allowed to conduct the thyroid test", and it was widely disseminated on the net. A day later, the document was yanked by the person who had posted it originally. Oh well. What can you believe these days?


Anonymous said...

Me. I never lie. But I'm not always correct, and I don't know everything. It'd be nice if I did, and could prove it. Otherwise it'd just be me knowing everything and nobody would believe me.

It's really sad how, when so many lives are at stake, people still screw around and waste all their time scamming others. They don't care to take the situation seriously.

Disaster relief efforts always have people taking advantage of it via fake donation funds, and so forth. The money donated to help people tends to vanish. It's absolutely disgusting.

Most people are completely unaware that their donations are being stolen. They donate to achieve personal peace of mind, and then go on with their lives. They don't care that the money they donated ended up in a random scammer's pocket. As far as I know, law enforcement does nothing about it either, because they're usually in on it... and people don't realize that either.

Corruption, greed, ignorance, arrogance, stupidity, etc... on all levels.

Anonymous said...

Japanese children must be different than most children around the world because the information I'm finding says thyroid nodules are rare in children and adolescents. Here are two examples but many can be found with a websearch on "childhood thyroid nodules".

True solitary nodules occur in 0.22-1.35% of the pediatric population as opposed to the adult population, in which the prevalence is closer to 4%. Upon further examination, thyroid masses often reveal asymmetric enlargement of one lobe, such as in unilateral agenesis, chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis (ie, Hashimoto thyroiditis), or other abnormalities such as lymph node or thyroglossal duct cysts. In addition, developmental errors, such as ectopic tissue, may cloud the picture. Suspected thyroid nodules merit close attention, however, in the pediatric population because the presence of malignancy in such nodules in a child is much more likely than in an adult. This frequency of malignancy is estimated to be 15-25%. In addition, thyroid cancer is much more aggressive in children and is associated with early metastasis to regional lymph nodes and parenchymal organs, most commonly lung and bone.

Thyroid nodules are growths in the thyroid gland, which is located in the front of the neck and controls many critical functions. Most nodules are benign tissue, but some can be malignant, or cancerous. Thyroid nodules are rare during childhood and adolescence, but they can and do occur.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for commenting again so soon after. This'll probably get flagged by the spam catcher.

I was just thinking that even if their testing is reliable and only one child has thyroid cancer SO FAR, and even if that child had it before Fukushima... that doesn't mean it wasn't still caused by nuclear technology in some way.

It's not possible for us to determine, but the possibility is still there. Oh wait, I guess it doesn't matter if it's only a few people's lives that are completely destroyed by modern tech, right? The statistics are low, right?

Well, I can't agree with that. If I was that unlucky person, or if it was someone I know and care about, I wouldn't be pleased about it. If we're using unnecessary tech that has a chance to destroy innocent lives, we should be constantly looking at seriously improving the tech or seeking better alternatives.

But we're not doing that, because everyone's top priority is money. Everyone insists we can't live without money. They never stop to think that maybe, JUST MAYBE, that it could be done differently. It could be done BETTER. They just accept it as how things are, and we must all bend over to it without question.

People nowadays are always like that. No point trying to improve on anything. It's always "that's the way it is", or the usual "it could be worse" pathetic comparison excuses.

Anonymous said...

Anon above, yes, they are supposed to be rare, but as the post says, there is no routine testing of thyroids unless a problem is suspected. In the case of Fukushima, they are testing everyone or very close to it. In the areas near Chernobyl, Dr. Yamashita and his group tested children who their teacher suspected might have thyroid problems (Dr. Yamashita's word, in his research paper).

Anonymous said...

Management of thyroid nodules in children and adolescents
Wilmar M. Wiersinga
Department of Endocrinology & Metabolism, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Thyroid nodules are less common in children and
adolescents than in adults, the prevalence of palpable thyroid nodules in childhood being about 1.5%, whereas in adulthood it is 4-7%.1,2 In contrast, thyroid nodules are more often malignant in childhood than in adulthood: in children, 26% of thyroid nodules are malignant, while in adults the corresponding figure is

Anonymous said...

One point to keep in mind is that the tests were carried out using ultrasound during initial investigation. This allows for a substantially higher number of positive results for thyroid nodules. The "palpable" thyroid nodules mentioned above are those able to be felt through the skin.

Studies using ultrasound have shown that anywhere from one third to two thirds of the population may/do have thyroid nodules. The following paper cites autopsy studies showing around 50%.

Anonymous said...

Department of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Szpitalna Street 27/33, 60–572 Poznan, Poland

According to the literature thyroid nodules are quite rare in the first two decades of life. However, there are some exceptions, relating to areas with an iodine deficiency or affected by radioactive fallout, where the risk of nodules and carcinomas is increased.

Thyroid nodules are uncommon in children before puberty (1.5% or less) (Kirkland et al. 1973, Rallison et al. 1975, Scott & Crawford 1976, Yip et al. 1994, Millman & Pellitteri 1997). Any nodule discovered in such an age group should therefore be viewed with suspicion and the diagnostic approach should be more aggressive in children than in adults (Scott & Crawford 1976, Silverman et al. 1979, Ridgway 1991) because they are more often malignant than in adults (Belfiore et al. 1989). The mean incidence of thyroid carcinomas in childhood thyroid nodules which were operated on is summarized in Table 1⇓ and shows an overall 26.4% risk of cancer.

Anonymous said...

First there is a 2001 study to use as cover to show some Japanese kids eat iodine rich foods and are not as susceptible if exposed to radioactive iodine compared to some other group of kids whose diets are lacking in a iodine rich foods causing them more likely to uptake radioactive iodine when exposed.

Then you have a January '12 letter instructing how to handle thyroid testing. Which by the way, says to observe and note abnormalities without further testing, like a biopsy unless a certain size or larger is found. The letter sets the thresholds of sizes and conditions.

Then you have the beginning of thyroid testing in April as shown in this preliminary reporting.

The (muted) results are already surprising even compared to the 2001 findings which was never envisioned to be compared to a 'Fukushima' type event.

A web of deceit leads to entangling yourself in your own words and skewed reports.

Try Busby or Caldicott for the other side story.

Then I read that they can now test whether iodine found in a thyroid is from nuclear generation due to its signature...lawsuits galore.

Anonymous said...

Biopsy may do more harm than good. Busby and Caldicott have gone to the other side for sure.

Could you also stop peddling the blog, Fukushima Voice? Whoever writes it has his/her strong bias, or I should say preference, in distorting the story.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Anon at 10:54PM, reading the letter in Japanese, I don't think Dr. Yamashita is "instructing" the doctors what to do in that letter. That's the blog writer's own interpretation.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 8:49PM, maybe you're confusing "prevalence" and "incidence".

Anonymous said...

" ... All I know so far is that before the Fukushima nuclear accident, there were no routine thyroid checks for children; for that matter, there were none for adults either, unless thyroid problems were suspected by the doctors from other symptoms. In other words, there is no baseline data. ..."

To my knowledge, Japan also uses the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which encodes all diagnoses made anywhere for data processing. Providing a list of diagnosed thyroid problems and their type in any given time frame before the accident should be a fairly simple task. This data could be used for comparison, even if routine checking after the accident provides results earlier in the disease process than does checking only after symptoms appear. This holds true especially for cancer, which obviously doesn't go away on its own, allowing for the assumption that nearly all thyroid cancer cases prior to the accident have - sooner or later - been captured.

Anonymous said...

You should consider that any study on thyroid nodules previous to 2000 probably mentions a much lower level of incidence, among kids or adults.

Before 1980-1990, the main screening method used was palpation, which detects only the biggest nodules, usually over 1cm in size and close to the surface.

After ultrasound began to be widely used, and even more with the generalization of high frequency ultrasound after the year 2000, small nodules and cysts which were until then undetectable started to pop up in unrelated medical tests, which were called "incidentalomas."

That's why it would be a good idea to check the publication date and the date of the sources quoted in any study related to this topic.

Some recent studies you can check:

"High-resolution thyroid ultrasonography has emerged as the most useful imaging modality for the thyroid gland (5). Using high-frequency transducers of 10–13 million cycles per second (MHz), nodules as small as 2 mm are readily detected. As technology improves, the haunting prospect that thyroid nodules could be imaged in over half the population is becoming a clinical reality. Using a 7.5-MHz transducer, a non-biased population-based study in Hyvinkaa, Finland, detected nodules in 27% of women and 15% of men (6). Using a 10-MHz transducer, a small study from California detected nodules in 67% of subjects (72% of women and 41% of men) (7). Two studies of patients having neck ultrasonography using a 10-MHz transducer for evaluation of hyperparathyroidism found thyroid nodules in 40–46% of patients (8, 9). And 48% of patients who present with a palpable nodule have an additional nodule(s) detected by ultrasound (10)."

"The prevalence of thyroid nodules in a healthy population is high: in the German Papillon study, nationwide ultrasound screening of more than 90 000 people using 7.5 MHz scanners revealed the presence of thyroid nodules in 33% of the normal population. A study employing more sensitive 13 MHz scanners has not been conducted so far."

Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

Are these kids, and they are children, patients to be cared for or lab rats?

The crisis is radionuclides being released. Do you set your own parameters for testing or investigate each one of the abnormalities to possibly catch cancer in its early stage or just sit back and observe treatable conditions?

Busby and Caldicott are experts in their fields,
one a PhD in chemical physics the other a physician who taught pediatrics, both ascribe to any dose or internal ionizing radiation being harmful, now or later on in life.

Maybe it is easier to ignore and pretend Fukushima never happened.

Anonymous said...

Anon, Caldicott and Busby are not experts in their fields. They are activists for whom science is only relevant as long as it confirms their agenda.

And almost everybody agrees on "any dose or internal ionizing radiation being harmful, now or later on in life," that's the approach of the ICRP, for example. That does not mean that any exposure to internal ionizing radiation is lethal, though. Specially because everybody in the planet is exposed to internal ionizing radiation, natural and man made, during their whole life and not everybody seems to be dying of cancer.

Anonymous said...

Are you trying to say that thyroid cancer is caused by the improved sensitivity of ultrasound equipment?

Anonymous said...

Detection of small nodules and cysts, which would have been invisible otherwise, is improved by the sensitivity of ultrasound equipment.

Anonymous said...

You can certainly spot the nuclear apologists, overlooking the obvious to avoid the realities of nuclear generation.

Busby, Caldicott, et al., worst nightmares are coming true. Spoke about, testified about, predicted it. Spend their entire lives trying to alert the world to the dangers of nuclear bombs and nuclear power generation.

It boils down to human sacrifice for nuclear power, pure and simple.

Anonymous said...

So because you label someone an activist we should not listen to what they say? or because their science conforms to their beliefs but goes against your agenda?
What would you advise? listen only to people on the payroll of charitable organizations like GE, Hitachi, Toshiba, Westinghouse? and then what? happily eat cesium for the sake of Tepco profits?
I suggest you keep working for the industry but, rather than writing, you go and help cleaning up the mess at Fukushima Daiichi.

Anonymous said...

anon at 8:15AM, then, simply because their view conforms to your own beliefs and agenda, you and everyone else should listen to them? Both pro-nuclear and anti-nuclear are equally suspect at this point. Keep working for the industry? Please. After a year and a half, if you still have to resort to that kind of cheap shot, you will just lose credibility.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so if in doubt, err on the safe side would be my personal vote and, therefore, act according to the cautious voices.

Anonymous said...

Look, my only agenda is to protect myself and my family. My only belief is that there is no general consensus on the consequences of (relatively) low exposure therefore I do not know how bad it is. How am I going to look into the eyes of my 3yrs old son if he develops cancer ten years from now?
Both sides equally suspect? nuclear industry has a multi billionaire vested interest in minimizing accidents; what vested interest has the anti nuclear side? selling books?? Please. Normal people need independent advice; propaganda we already had enough.
Credibilty?? Nuclear reactors were advertised to have one major breakdown every million years; we are at 6 in 60 years. What credibility are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

Anon above, it's not necessarily about money per se. For some people, popularity is important. For others, feeling that they are helping others. Ego trip, revenge. Anything. Billionaire or not.

Both sides are NOT INDEPENDENT. Don't you get it? I guess not.

By the way, your statement "one major breakdown every million years" is imprecise. It's "reactor year" that they measure.

Anonymous said...

mscharisma, I have a close friend who got paranoid about thyroid and insisted her doctor do unnecessary biopsies repeatedly so that she could feel safe. She ended up developing cancer. That was long before Fukushima. All in perspective, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

The idea that there is no consensus about the effects of low level radiation is false. The discussion since the 90s is about the number of fatal cancers per extra millisievert of whole body dose, which some estimate in 1 in 20,000 and others in 2 or 3.

Considering that 1 in 4 people die of cancer, the problem is to prove that one particular cancer was caused by radiation exposure, and not by first or second hand smoking, regular air pollution, pesticides, additives in food or old age. Actually radiation is one of the contaminants about which we have more information compared to the others, with the exception of tobacco.

Part of the anti-nukes think they are still living in the 70s or the 80s, when the risks of low level radiation was not recognized by the authorities. Thus the end of the world scenarios they use, because they have to go one up compared to the official interpretations to maintain their rhetoric ("there is a cover-up, I'm gonna tell you the truth about low level radiation, the planet is doomed.")


Anonymous said...

An Xpert channels Norm McDonald:
Xpert: I don't take into account deaths or such from Fukushima into my disaster planning. I think the total number of deaths talked about from Fukushima etc is overblown & will be relatively small in #>
-> Did you know there are a large # of children with thyroid problems
Xpert: thyroid problems, that's really bad, it's really bad, sort of a root thing when you develop problems with thyroid.
Oh Well...

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