The Fukushima Prefectural government has revealed that two more people, both aged 18 or younger when the Fukushima nuclear crisis broke out in March 2011, have been diagnosed with having thyroid cancer. This brings the total number of cases to three. All three diagnosed patients have undergone surgery, and are doing well, according to reports.
Shinichi Suzuki, a professor from Fukushima Medical University, stated at a panel meeting for the ongoing health impact following the nuclear disaster that it was still too early to directly link the cancer cases with Fukushima meltdowns. While this is somewhat hard to believe, what with the 2011 nuclear crisis being the worst disaster since Chernobyl in 1986, and three people from the prefecture just “coincidentally” developing cancer in following months, it was Chernobyl itself that showed it takes at least four to five years for the disease to be detected.
Nuclear accidents such as Chernobyl and Fukushima result in the release of radioactive iodine into the atmosphere. This tends to accumulate in the thyroid gland, especially in young people. In the years following Chernobyl, there was a significant increase in the number of thyroid cancer cases in children who lived in the area. Local health authorities in Fukushima Prefecture have been conducting thyroid checks in those who were 18 or younger at the time of the disaster. Out of 360,000 people, roughly 38,000 were checked in the fiscal year 2011, and out of those, ten cases, including the three confirmed with thyroid cancer, are believed to have some form of the disease. 15 is the average age of those ten people, with seven being female.