It has been two years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan and caused the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant – the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. As the people begin to rebuild, signs of a cancer outbreak from the radiation of the troubled nuclear power station are beginning to show.
Japan's Environment Ministry commissioned researchers at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency to estimate radiation doses that could have accumulated in the thyroid glands of evacuees who took the 18 most common evacuation routes. It was found that residents who stayed the night at the Tsushima activation center in Namie on March 22 and proceeded the next morning to the Adachi gymnasium in Nihonmatsu, about 60 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi area, recorded the highest estimate of thyroid radiation dose.
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.
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 cat is out of the bag! Soon after the Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis, a panel of experts was convened to monitor and address the concerns regarding the relationship between the radiation leak and health. It was obvious that any cancer-related case was going to stir controversy, so apparently the panel held secret mock sessions to rehearse answers before addressing the public.
The first case of thyroid cancer in a child hailing from Fukushima has been reported. The report is significant because it’s the first after the nuclear power plant meltdown and radiation leaks caused by last year’s disaster. The Fukushima Prefectural Government panel claims that the child is not affected due to the radiation from the nuclear crisis.
The Japanese government has stated that it will have medical experts check the thyroid of roughly 4,500 children at three different locations outside of Fukushima. This is being done to double-check and confirm that the earlier diagnoses of thyroid growths in 36% of Fukushima children are directly related to the March 2011 nuclear disaster. Officials say they will test children 18 year old or younger using similar ultrasonic thyroid examinations, and will continue through the end of March 2013.
One of the good things that the health officials are doing is keeping a check on the health of the 38,114 children from Fukushima Prefecture. In their recent scheduled checkup, around 13,460 children (35.3%) were found to have cysts or nodules of up to 5 mm (0.197 inches) on their thyroid glands. Although the growths are abnormal, the doctors insist that there is no link between the disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and the growths.