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Young cancer patients' relapses ignored

March 1, 2018




Thyroid cancer relapses in some Fukushima children





A private fund offering financial assistance to young people diagnosed with thyroid cancer after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident has called for a detailed follow-up survey of those who have relapsed.

The 3.11 Fund for Children with Thyroid Cancer made the appeal at a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday.

The fund's name refers to March 11th, 2011, when a tsunami triggered by a powerful earthquake crippled a nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

A survey conducted by the fund shows that cancer returned to 9.5 percent, or 8, of 84 children diagnosed with thyroid cancer after the accident. They had to undergo second operations as a result.

The fund says the 8 people were 6 to 15 years old at the time of the accident 7 years ago. Their cancers returned about 28 months on average after their first surgeries. One relapse occurred just a year later.

Fukushima Prefecture has been offering thyroid cancer screening for local residents who were 18 or younger at the time of the accident.

The 3.11 Fund pointed out that an expert committee advising the prefectural government has not taken up the issue of relapses among young thyroid cancer patients.

Fund director Hisako Sakiyama said that to get a clear picture of the health effects of the nuclear accident, it's important to continue screening with particular attention on relapses.


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