Monday, March 10, 2014

UK Medical Experts Say Seemingly Large Number of Thyroid Cancer in Children in Fukushima Is Likely Due to Hypersensitive Ultrasound

In other words, "screening effect," as other researchers have already concluded. (Here's a paper by German researchers, published in January 2014 in Radiation and Environmental Biophysics.)

Even some of the Japanese experts such as Dr. Masamichi Nishio who have been fanning the fear of a big increase in thyroid cancer in children after the Fukushima I NPP accident seem to be backtracking (link goes to a togetter with Dr. Nishio's comments) these days, as the third anniversary of the triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in Japan approaches.

The Guardian's article below, however, does not make it crystal clear that the thyroid screening test being done in Fukushima Prefecture since 2011 aims to test ALL children who were 18 years old and under at the time of the nuclear accident and who would have not gone to a thyroid specialist to have their thyroids checked had there been no nuclear accident.

Fukushima Prefecture's screening is finding the cases of thyroid cancer which would have gone unnoticed and undetected for years if not decades. To compare the cancer cases found in this screening with the normal cancer cases where the patient goes to the doctor and the doctor makes diagnosis doesn't make any sense, but that's what some experts in Japan and outside Japan have been doing, to the apparent frustration (for some) and anxiety (for many others) among parents in Fukushima.

So far, 269,354 children, or about 80% of all children in Fukushima who were 18 years old and younger at the time of the accident have been tested, according to the latest report (2/7/2014; in Japanese) by the Fukushima prefectural government. None of the children found with thyroid cancer had any symptoms.

From UK's The Guardian (3/9/2014; emphasis is mine):

Fukushima's children at centre of debate over rates of thyroid cancer

Three years after the worst nuclear accident in a generation, the Japanese prefecture is reporting a rise in the number of children showing cancer symptoms. But is this directly related to the disaster, or is the testing more rigorous?

by Justin McCurry in Fukushima

When doctors found several tiny nodules on his 12-year-old daughter's thyroid gland, Toshiyuki Kamei refused to let parental fear get the better of him. The symptoms are not uncommon, and the probability that they will develop into something more serious is low.

Yet Kamei can be forgiven for occasional moments of doubt: his daughter, Ayako, is one of almost 400,000 children who were living in Fukushima on 11 March 2011 – the start of the world's worst nuclear accident for a quarter of a century.

"As a parent, of course I worry, but my daughter is taking it in her stride," said Kamei, who lives in Iwaki, a city about 40km (25 miles) south of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. "She doesn't tell me if it's on her mind, and I've decided not to ask her about it."

Three years after the plant suffered a triple meltdown that released huge quantities of radiation into the atmosphere, medical authorities in Fukushima prefecture are reporting a significant rise in the number of thyroid cancer cases among local children and young adults.

The results have prompted a bitter debate about the potential effects the meltdown had on the health of hundreds of thousands of children. Either the higher-than-normal rates of thyroid cancer are connected to the nuclear accident, or they are the inevitable result of a testing regime unprecedented in size, and conducted using state-of-the-art medical equipment.

Last month, the number of confirmed and suspected cases of thyroid cancer among people aged 18 or below at the time of the accident rose to 75, compared with 59 at the end of last September. Of the current total, 33 cases have been confirmed as cancer.

...At first sight, the figures give cause for alarm. Thyroid cancer normally affects one to two people per million among 10 to 14-year-olds in Japan, a rate far lower than observed in Fukushima, although tests there apply to people aged up to 18.

But experts familiar with both disasters caution against making similarly gloomy predictions for the children of Fukushima. Dillwyn Williams, emeritus professor of pathology at Cambridge University, pointed out that a noticeable increase in thyroid cancers was not observed until three to four years after the Chernobyl accident.

"Much less radioactivity was released from Fukushima than from Chernobyl," he said. "Most of [the Fukushima radiation] was blown over the Pacific Ocean, and thyroid doses in the most-affected areas are low compared to Chernobyl.

"It is very unlikely there will be a large increase in thyroid cancer or any other health problems, apart from anxiety and psychological difficulties. That does not mean the surveillance should stop. There were surprises after Chernobyl and there may be again after Fukushima."

Williams and other experts have attributed the large number of cases to the use of hypersensitive ultrasound, which can detect the tiniest lesions, and the large number of children being tested.

...Gerry Thomas, professor of molecular pathology at Imperial College, London University, blames growing anxiety among Fukushima residents on "pseudo-scientists who can shout louder than real scientists".

"The biggest effect will be psychological – just as it was post-Chernobyl," said Thomas, who insists the rising number of cases is due to comprehensive screening, not radiation. "I still stick with what I have always said: there will not be a single death due to the radiological consequences of this accident."

(Full article at the link)

Ah. The curse of "one in million" continues, but at least the article mentions "comprehensive screening".

Professor Geraldine Thomas sounds somewhat like Mr. George Monbiot, or lot like Professor Wade Allison of Oxford University, but her comment that "pseudo-scientists" causing anxiety among Fukushima residents has a point, I believe, after reading numerous articles from the Japanese newspapers on the 3rd anniversary of the nuclear accident.


Anonymous said...

Simple solution: use the super-sensitive screening methodology on a population in a prefecture far from Fukushima. But what do I know? I disagree with the experts so I am by definition a pseudo-scientist.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Anon above, they have done that in three locations, though not as large samples as in Fukushima. The result was that there was no difference between the three locations and Fukushima.

Anonymous said...

The difference between pre-Fukushima and post Fukushima thyroid cancer rates can not be explained by screening effect. The pre-Fukushima rate was less than 1%. The post-Fukushima rate is in double digits. The 2001 Nagasaki study where they screened a group of school children was less than 1%. That study would pick up any screening effect.

VyseLegendaire said...

"The biggest effect will be psychological – just as it was post-Chernobyl,"

::Adds the Guardian to the blocklist::

Anonymous said...

Please help me understand the screening effect. I remember a similar argument in the 1970s when the so-called "cancer epidemic" started..

It would seem that 100% of all tumors identified with modern equipment would eventually turn up on ancient equipment, so that the net difference between equipment technologies is ultimately zero.

The only factor that can account for this "screening effect" is time. Would somebody please walk me thru this so I can see where the medicos are coming from? .

Otherwise, this sounds like more obfuscation.


Anonymous said...

Gotta see this for what it is...

A fawning rag of a second rate newspaper soliciting the ill informed views from some puffed up farts pontificating on stuff they have no hard data on.

They all got their 30 seconds of fame, but I'd like the two minutes back that it took me to read their bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Go to the southern hemisphere away from anything radioactive and perform the same ultrasound tests then compare, duh.

The initial plan to incinerate radioactive waste throughout Japan plus dump it in nearby bays to irradiate the population evenly seems to be working very well. Now the Japanese government can use a higher threshold of exposure before linking fallout to illnesses.

The two nukes the US dropped on Japan are like a breathe of fresh air compared to the dirty bomb releases ongoing at Daiichi.

Anonymous said...

More obfuscation. Lying about doses that populations received. Allowing 3 other control sites to be "selected" by those who wish to "prove" that unlike all other humans, Japanese just aren't harmed by doses of radiation. Those 3 control sites - how did they determine the doses those sites received? No proof now unless you consult any (limited) TEPCO monitoring of plume and depositon. They figured out "what you don't test, you don't report." Chernobyl showed "leopard" spot patterns of contamination far from the original site - so those wishing to tilt this study need only choose other exposed child populations.
It's not true that elevations in thyroid cancer took longer at Chernobyl, according to those who lived in the Ukraine at the time.
""Much less radioactivity was released from Fukushima than from Chernobyl," Uhmmmm...well the admissions of undercalculation keep coming (Oooops! it was greater than we thought!) so let's wait until they finally have admitted everything and more radiation stops spewing from the plant, M'kay?
It's obscene to say, as pro nuke apologists often do, that the real problem is anxiety and stress - tell that to the people who died or lived, and are still living with the legacy of Chernobyl in the Ukraine. They act like the medically suffering people in the Ukraine never existed. They are still sickening and dying from radiation in the Ukraine - go ask them if it's all in their imaginations!

Anonymous said...

@ Anon March 10, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Yes. Burning radioactive debris, shipping contaminated food throughout the country - remember the radioactive beef and tea leaves fed to school children?
In particular, remember the social pressure on children to drink the milk? And milk can be shipped throughout Japan and certainly they were doing all they could to conceal point of origin on products at that time? Well - this document says the primary way that Ukrainian children were dosed with radioactive iodine was...milk:
"Although inhalation of some radionuclides
from air was possible in the affected regions, the main
route of radioactive iodine entry into the human body
has been primarily through ingestion of contaminated
milk. "
I don't know if it's still the prevailing theory because the article contains other types of data that is out dated, but it does seem possible because of the way that radioactive waste is concentrated in the milk of grazing animals (e.g., VT had to dump milk at a dairy post Fukushima because the iodine levels exceded limits). Japan did meet with Russian delgates to "Learn the Lessons of Chernobyl" and I think they learned to do as RUssia did - deny deny deny deny. And possibly to spread the milk around NOW to flatten control groups.
Ah yes - this NY Times article also says milk and says that 25 years after Chernobyl, those who were children at the time experience elevated levels of thyroid cancer.

According to this Oxford Journal article, "Early on, it was thought that better reporting and screening might be partly responsible for the large number of thyroid cancers diagnosed so soon after the accident (35–37). However, more recent epidemiologic data have demonstrated that the enhanced risk is associated with the radioiodine exposure

Surely those in Japan can search the internet as well as I can...they know and they are using time tested means of confusing the "official record." It worked before - they still claim that the damage of Chernobyl was mostly psychological! It can work again!

Anonymous said...

From the same article:(
"On the basis of collective dose, Jacob et al. (41) reported a linear dose response for the three countries and an excess absolute risk per 10,000 person-year-Gy of 2.3 (95 percent confidence interval: 1.4, 3.8). In a later study (51), performed in Belarus and the Bryansk region of Russia, results were very similar. The excess absolute risk per 10,000 person-year-Gy was 2.1 (95 percent confidence interval: 1.0, 4.5), and the excess relative risk per Gy was 23 (95 percent confidence interval: 8.6, 82). The risk was statistically significantly elevated even in the lowest dose group, which received an average of only 0.05 Gy. "

Note that WITHIN the five hear period, thyroid cancer increased signficantly and after the five year period it skyrocketed.

Anonymous said...

"a.Fukushima Medical University staff engaged in the Thyroid health survey of Fukushima children cite sources based on Chernobyl data which the staff claims support 1. A long 4-5 year latent period for thyroid cancer 2. A slow progression of the disease. In fact these sources actually confirm that latent periods in early onset cases of the disease post Chernobyl were very short, and these sources report that disease progression in the early onset cases post Chernobyl was rapid. The authors of these Chernobyl reports include Dr S. Yamashita, formerly of the Fukushima Medical University Fukushima Thyroid Health Survey. "

If you scroll down the page ( I did to see if the author seemed to be telling the truth) and look at the bottom line of Table 2, you see significant elevation of thyroid cancer in children starts earlier than the 5 years quoted elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

"However Yamashita et al 1998, reported the following: “tumors
arising in the Chernobyl population began developing with surprising rapidity and short latency.” (Yamashita et. al., 1998, pdf page 2, journal page 204). The authors consider this rapid onset of disease to be notable compared to thyroid cancers which occurred prior to the Chernobyl nuclear accident. (ibid, pdf page 2, journal page 204)."


"US CDC publication of “Minimum Latency & Types or Categories of Cancer” John Howard, M.D., Administrator World Trade Center Health Program, 9.11 Monitoring and Treatment, Revision: May 1, 2013, states that the latent period for Thyroid cancer is :
“2.5 years, based on low estimates used for lifetime risk modeling of low-level ionizing radiation studies”, pdf page 1."

Anonymous said...

"It would seem that 100% of all tumors identified with modern equipment would eventually turn up on ancient equipment"


As it seems, the new ultrasonic screening equipments with their high resolution actually gives more false positive signals than real positives. Most of the found 'tumors' are just disappear with time.

Actually, due to that the effectiveness of the preventive screening is in doubt now for some kind of cancer types.

So right now we don't have any other references to compare the results than the parallel screenings made in different areas.

Anonymous said...

"So right now we don't have any other references to compare the results .. " said the man who referred to Japan, only.

Deadly deceit : low-level radiation, high-level cover-up by Jay M. Gould and Benjamin A. Goldman

Atomic harvest : Hanford & the lethal toll of America's nuclear arsenal by Michael D'Antonio

" .. they still claim that the damage of Chernobyl was mostly psychological! .. "

Robert B. Hayes, MIT Physics Dept. Lab for Nuclear Science: "Fear has historically been one of the greatest dangers when it comes to any upset condition at a nuclear facility. .. The only deaths recorded from the very large radioactivity release from Fukushima were due to unnecessary evacuations .. Full disclosure, I was at the WIPP site for two weeks after the event [yet, in this, my full disclosure, do not feel to tell the world how those 13 contaminated workers actually were contaminated. We do not want you to be able to conceive of the event.]"

fixed it for Hayes

Anonymous said...

Are the young people from USS Ronald Reagan, victims of collective hallucinations ( )? It is a disgrace to say like gerry Thomas that " there will not be a single death due to the radiological consequences of this accident." Even Abe ministers cannot say that publicly in japan anymore without getting public wrath from people in Fukushima prefecture. There are more people now recognized publicly and indemnized in Fukushima prefecture indirect victims of the nuclear accident than victims of tsunami.

Unknown said...

of course, what was i thinking, the cause in the increase of thyroid cancer in japan is obviously stress and too much xray. they shouldn't be worried a nuclear disaster is happening in their backyard. it's probably their fault if they got ill right? increase in thyroid cancer have nothing to do with nuclear pollution it's just a pure coincidence it happened to occur in the same time right?
it's all bullshit.
what i say is: industrials and governements are taking our lives from us.
if they like nuclear energy so much, we should throw them in the reactors before shuting them down for good.

Anonymous said...

Is it the new secrets law or a gag order on the medical profession and the Cancer Registry? There has been a long list of individuals weighing in on this issue from anywhere but Japan. Where are the Endocrinologists? Doctors? Pediatricians? Nurses?
Long before there was a Chernobyl "necklace" there was a Hanford "necklace". In the areas hit heavily by fallout during the above-ground testing years, milk was thrown out, farm animals were screened, and people were left to fend for themselves.
So 70 years on most communities within reach of NPPs have some provision for dispensing Potassium Iodide during an "unscheduled event", because we know that I131 can cause thyroid cancer.Sadly, denial and the" fear of panic" prevents the "scientific" information being conveyed to the citizens in a timely manner.
Not a single thing has changed.
Limit liability and move along.
Keep your medical records.The current work in identifying the gene mutation for RITC will lay this big pile of BS bare one day.
While we are waiting...smiles and bananas all round
We are all downwinders

Anonymous said...


are you trying to say that we should expect 1 cancer in a million but they found 33 in a quarter of a million and this 120 times factor is owed to the high quality of the screening? what will you say next year when cancers will be, say, 60?


Unknown said...

well asked Beppe.
ex-skf could you clarify your point here?
your post is a bit confusing, do you agree with the article you're quoting and also with what george monbiot have to say ?

Anonymous said...

Due to the delay in responding to multiple people and in observing trends in statements by ex-SKF it may be time to speculate that ex-SKF was either hacked after receiving that disturbing personal email, unbidden, or was visited by the Yakuza and warned against encouraging foreigners.

As ex-SKF is at least as anonymous to me as I am to him ..

.. now would be? or wouldn't be? the time for others to come to his "valiant" rescue from myself and the "impertinent" questioning by others to clarify his position.

Let the entertainment begin [again].

Anonymous said...

If Ex-Skf (aka Ultraman) is ever threatened into silence or compliance, it would not take away from the fact that he has changed the course of history for the better. If that ever occurs, those who threaten or mistreat him cannot rewind history and make his contribution disappear. If he or his family is ever threatened, I would thank him and ask him to take care of himself and his loved ones - he has already served the public worldwide, he doesn't need to give his life or those of his loved ones to serve the rest of his life. If that ever happens, he has already done enough.

Anonymous said...

@Anon at 1:32:
" 'It would seem that 100% of all tumors identified with modern equipment would eventually turn up on ancient equipment'


As it seems, the new ultrasonic screening equipments with their high resolution actually gives more false positive signals than real positives. Most of the found 'tumors' are just disappear with time. "

All one has to do is to compare CONFIRMED cancer cases in pre- and post-accident population to get around the false positives issue. I would agree with RB at 10:32 that time of diagnosis is the only difference one has to take into account when comparing numbers of pre- and post-accident cases. The argument that increased cancer rates are due to increased screening is an inaccurate over-simplification at best, deliberate misleading at worst.

One thing I would be interested in is rates of birth defects and miscarriages pre- and post-accident.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Beppe, "one in million" thyroid cancer in children is when there is no screening test in large population, as they are doing in Fukushima. A child or his/her parents notices some abnormality, they go see a doctor. The doctor diagnoses it as thyroid cancer.

What they are doing in Fukushima is to test every single child, regardless of whether they have any symptoms at all (they didn't).

Unknown said...

ex-skf, so what you're saying is, that in addition to health damage done by radioactive pollution, more damage are being done by systematicaly giving xray to a lot of people ? so you condemn additional damages done by xray?
well, i think it's the least of two evil. they have the right to know what is happening to them.
if they see their body damaged by radiation to the point they need to go and get xray to confirm the problem, then, it's not what the xray add that will be ruining their lives, i think, but the radiation that got loose in the wild, getting its way into ppl's everyday lives and foods.

Anonymous said...

The US Federal Regulations

Subpart C & D

Does Japan have regulatory standards for occupational and individual exposure? Testing and record keeping protocol?
I don't really understand our continuing confusion in what constitutes appropriate emergency measures. The notion that waiting for symptoms to present seems ineffective and negligent. Do we address these issues this time or insert another chapter in the endless debate post-Chernobyl regarding the number of deaths, illnesses, food and water contamination...or apply the US -40 yrs later- adoption of a changing mathematical model for dose reconstruction to address compensation issues for downwinders, atomic veterans, and civilian workers?
It's past time to ask the questions we don't really want answers to and get ahead of the future problems by using the information we have already painfully acquired.

Anonymous said...


the claim that screening is the only reason these cancers have been found and that, in the long run, the total number of cancers will not change is groundless, I think.


Anonymous said...


Fukushima ascertained thyroid cancer cases are now at 50 and counting; this translates into 1 case every 6000 (for kids under 18 years).

Some "experts" say that this is owed to the so-called screening effect but I have some doubts.

According to "estimates of minimum latency
based on the statistical modeling of risk for associations between exposure to low-level ionizing radiation and thyroid cancer" are at 2.5 years, to be lowered to 1 year for individuals below 20 years of age (section III.E). Such minimum latency is a precondition to be eligible for coverage in the WTC Health Program, which supports the victims of the substances released as a result of the 9/11 attack to the WTC.

Furthermore, if you look at 表 1 in (and do a little of math) it seems that in Japan there is 1 case of thyroid cancer every 5236 people (up to 34 (!) years of age).

I am no medical expert but looking at these figures I find it hard to believe that finding 1 thyroid cancer case every 6000 kids 3+ years after the accident is unrelated to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Please advise in case I missed anything.


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