A briefing session was held November 4 for the residents of Koriyama in the Fukushima prefecture regarding thyroid cancer screenings for children. The tests were being conducted for children in the prefecture aged 18 years and younger due to possible exposure from the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant last year.
The screenings, which began in October 2011, had already been conducted on 115,000 children, which is just about one third of the total number of children that will require testing. Parents, however, have been less than satisfied with some aspects of the tests, one of which was regarding sufficient disclosure of the results of the screenings. Parents had to explicitly put in requests to receive copies of thyroid images from the tests. Some parents whose children were given a grade of A2, meaning they had cysts 20 millimeters or smaller, are worried that the next round of tests for their children won’t happen until after two years. The A2 group composed of 35 percent of the screened children, making up the second largest group, with A1 children or those who have shown no cysts being the largest group, making up 65 percent.
Professor Shinichi Suzuki of the Fukushima Medical University, who leads the thyroid screenings, said that they will consider the possibility of releasing the thyroid images without having to put in a request. He also asked for some understanding, saying these thyroid screenings for children have never been before conducted in Japan. About 70 Fukushima residents attended the session, which lasted an hour longer than the two-hour schedule. Briefings will also be held on November 10 at the Fukushima capital and on November 18 at Minamisoma.