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Plaintiff diagnosed with thyroid cancer after the Fukushima nuclear accident: “I have suffered without telling anyone

The day the lawsuit was filed (January 27, 2022, courtesy of OurPlanetTV)

May 25, 2022
In January 2022, children who suffered from thyroid cancer and were living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, aged between 6 and 16, became plaintiffs and filed a lawsuit against TEPCO, claiming that their thyroid cancer was caused by the nuclear accident and demanding that the company clarify the causal relationship.

This is the first class action lawsuit filed against TEPCO 11 years after the accident, claiming the effects of radiation exposure.

All of the plaintiffs have had their thyroid glands removed, and four of the six have relapsed; the four who have undergone two or more surgeries and had their entire thyroid glands removed must continue to take hormone medication for the rest of their lives. Another child has been diagnosed with distant metastasis to the lungs.

We interviewed one of the plaintiffs, who said, “I have suffered for the past 11 years without being able to tell anyone. (Writer: Chia Yoshida)
Announcement of acceptance with the possibility of exposure to radiation

Sawa Mukai (15 years old at the time of the accident, pseudonym) was an athletic child who was affected by the disaster on March 11, 2011, the day of her junior high school graduation ceremony. She recalls how eerie it was to see a blizzard immediately after the earthquake, followed by a sky that suddenly cleared up.

The next day, she helped clean up a relative’s house that had been completely destroyed by the earthquake. The road in front of the relative’s house was jammed with cars heading in a westerly direction.

It was strange because there is not usually a lot of traffic on this road, but when I thought about it later, I realized that they were cars evacuating from the nuclear power plant,” Mukai said.

On March 12, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1 exploded, Unit 3 exploded on March 14, Unit 2 was in a critical condition, and Unit 4 exploded on March 15.

The next day, March 16, was the announcement of acceptance to high schools in Fukushima. Many junior high school students in the prefecture went out to the high schools they had applied to in order to check their numbers.

Although many teachers and staff members were opposed to the announcement of acceptance in the midst of the possibility of children being exposed to radiation, the prefecture decided to go ahead with the announcement. Mr. Mukai was one of those who had no choice but to go to the acceptance announcement.

Kenichi Ido, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, points out that “elementary and junior high school students who were unprotected at the time of the accident were exposed to radiation, which may have led to their illnesses.

“We often hear stories of students who were engaged in club activities as usual, or who went to the March 16th prefectural high school acceptance announcement,” he said. The government has assumed that there are no health hazards caused by the nuclear accident, but this is not the case,” said Ido.
Even if the radiation dose rate is above the standard value, “Oh, well…

The risk of radiation exposure lurked even in high school.

Although Ms. Mukai was fond of sports, she gave up her outdoor sports club, which she had planned to join. His mother was concerned that he should not be exposed to radiation as much as possible.

Although warning poles were placed at hot spots (areas with locally elevated radiation levels) on campus to alert people to the danger, once they became accustomed to the area, everyone began to pass by them.

Gradually, no one would wear masks to avoid internal exposure. Mr. Mukai wore a mask until the end, but in the summer of 2011, he began to remove it because it was too hot.

At the time, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) had a standard for school grounds that they could only be used if the air dose rate was “less than 3.8 μSv per hour,” but “It’s over. But I once heard a teacher say, “Well, that’s OK.

The radiation level at home was also high. In some places, the radiation levels were 100 times higher than before the accident. Even indoors, the levels were 60 times higher than before the accident. The family decontaminated the area with a high-pressure washer, but the levels did not go down that much.

Mr. Mukai was unable to join an athletic team, so he focused on his schoolwork, aiming to attend a university in Tokyo. Thanks to his efforts, he was accepted with a recommendation. She was so happy that she started living in Tokyo in early March (before entering university),” she smiles.
I will never forget the doctor’s words: “There is no cause-and-effect relationship between the nuclear accident and my life.

There were many places to play in Tokyo, I started a part-time job, and my new life was enjoyable.

However, around that time, she began to experience some physical problems. Her body swelled, her menstrual periods became irregular, she gained weight, and her skin became rough. And when she swallowed water or saliva, she felt discomfort in her throat.

When she consulted her mother, she was told that it might be a thyroid-related condition and that she should get checked out as soon as possible. Mr. Mukai was busy with university classes and other obligations, so he missed the second thyroid checkup conducted by the Fukushima prefectural government.

Soon after, Ms. Mukai took the test along with other children at a large-scale thyroid screening site in Fukushima Prefecture. The test took only a minute or so for the others, but the process stopped at Mr. Mukai’s spot.

While applying the echo, Ms. Mukai saw the doctor nod his head and wondered if something was wrong.

Later, the results arrived at his parents’ home, and his mother contacted Mr. Mukai in Tokyo to inform him of the “reexamination. Fukushima Medical University called her twice and asked her to retest immediately. Ms. Mukai said that by that time she had a dim feeling that she might have thyroid cancer.

In the fall of 2015, he was told at the hospital that he had thyroid cancer. Mukai will never forget being told by the doctor that there was no causal relationship between the nuclear accident and the cancer, even though he had not asked any questions at the time.

I wondered how they could possibly know that,” Mukai said.

She then underwent surgery to remove the left half of her thyroid gland at the age of 20.
He was 20 years old. “I hope that other sufferers will be in a situation where they can raise their voices,” he said.

In consideration of his health condition, he quit the part-time job he had enjoyed.

After graduating from university, he found a job, but his health deteriorated due to the hard work. She quit the job she had longed for, and now works at a job that is less demanding on her body.

If her numbers worsen, she has to resume taking her medication, and she lives her life constantly worrying about her health.

I gave up a lot of things myself, but there are many more people younger than me who had to make the choice to give up,” Mukai said.

People who dropped out of college. Some have dropped out of college, others have been unable to find work. Some confided in me that they had given up on love and marriage and could not even think about falling in love with someone. I was shocked by all of them.

As she recounted her own experiences, Ms. Mukai was considerate of the other plaintiffs and those who had contracted thyroid cancer but were not plaintiffs.

There is a situation where other small children cannot speak up,” she said. I hope that by raising our voices this time, other sufferers will be able to speak out,” said Mukai.

The incidence of childhood thyroid cancer is generally said to be “1 to 2 per million children.

However, in Fukushima Prefecture, according to a prefectural survey, 273 children were diagnosed with suspected malignant (cancerous) thyroid cancer through cytological puncture diagnosis, and 226 children have already undergone surgery. When national cancer registries and regional cancer registries are combined, more than 300 people have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

The aforementioned lawyer Ido also commented, “In Fukushima Prefecture today, people cannot talk about the fact that they have thyroid cancer because it is a sensitive issue, and they are isolated from the rest of the community.

Ms. Mukai, too, had only been able to talk about her thyroid cancer to those close to her. However, this changed when she decided to file the lawsuit. As a result of calling for support for the trial through crowdfunding, he raised approximately 17.62 million yen, far exceeding his goal of 10 million yen.

I was very happy that 1,966 people donated to the trial and sent messages of support. The other plaintiffs were also happy,” said Mukai.

My fears that I would be discriminated against or that I would not be understood were slightly allayed.

On the other hand, however, on the same day that the lawsuit was filed, five former prime ministers, including Junichiro Koizumi and Naoto Kan, sent a letter to the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, stating that “many children are suffering from thyroid cancer,” to which incumbent Diet members and Fukushima Prefecture Governor Masao Uchibori protested, calling the information “false,” “inappropriate,” and “regrettable. The letter was sent to the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union (EU).

They said, “We are surprised and indignant that you would make such a statement even though you know that there are children who have developed thyroid cancer. Because I have seen other plaintiffs who are truly suffering, that statement was unforgivable,” said Mukai.

Mukai, who felt that this trial would not be an easy one, has continued to consider the causal relationship between the nuclear accident and thyroid cancer by attending study sessions with experts and reading the complaint.

Among the plaintiffs, there were some who were so mentally distressed that they could not eat rice, and this made me feel more strongly that something had to be done.

I believe that there is a causal relationship between the accident and thyroid cancer, and although I cannot do it alone, I would like to fight the trial in cooperation with the plaintiffs and the defense team,” said Mukai.

The first oral argument will be held at the Tokyo District Court on May 26 at 14:00. Plaintiffs are scheduled to make statements.

The plaintiffs and their lawyers in the thyroid cancer trial are seeking continued support for the trial through the crowdfunding service “READYFOR.

Chia Yoshida: Freelance writer. After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, she has continued to cover victims and evacuees. She is the author of “Reporto: Mother and Child Evacuation” (Iwanami Shinsho), “Sotoko no Fukushima: Nukei no Koto o Koto wo Ikiru Hitobito” (After Fukushima: People Living After the Nuclear Accident) (Jinbunshoin), “Korunin: Futaba-gun Firefighters’ 3/11” (Iwanami Shoten), and co-author of “Nukei Hakusho” (White Paper on Nuclear Evacuation) (Jinbunshoin).
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May 29, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Thyroid Examination October 2021: 221 Surgically Confirmed as Thyroid Cancer Among 266 Cytology Suspected Cases

Overview

    On October 15, 2021, the 43rd session of the Oversight Committee for the Fukushima Health Management Survey (FHMS) convened online and in Fukushima City, releasing a new set of results (data up to June 30, 2021) from the fourth and fifth rounds of the Thyroid Ultrasound Examination (TUE).  The fifth-round data reported this time includes the confirmatory examination results. In addition, a corrected version of the results was released for the Age 25 Milestone Screening originally reported in July 2021. 

    The 43rd session was the first session of a new two-year term (August 2021-July 2023) for 18 committee members, including 6 new members. (Regrettably, a long-time committee member Fumiko Kasuga, who steadfastly advocated for release of more clinical information as well as inclusion of feedbacks from participants and their families, is no longer included.)  A roster for the Thyroid Examination Evaluation Subcommittee was also released, but there was no change. It was revealed that there was no target date for the release of an interim summary for the third round.

   At this time, an official English translation is available up to the 40th session of the Oversight Committee on the website for the Radiation Medical Science Center of the Fukushima Health Management Survey (RMSC/FHMS). The final results of the third round, released at the 39th session in August 2020, is finally available in English on pages 2-20 of this report.

Highlights

  • The fourth round: 3 new cases diagnosed as suspicious or malignant, and 2 new surgical cases. 
  • The fifth round: 3 new cases diagnosed as suspicious or malignant, and 1 new surgical case
  • Total number of suspected/confirmed thyroid cancer has increased by 6 to 266116 in the first round (including a single case of benign tumor), 71 in the second round, 31 in the third round, 36 in the fourth round, 3 in the fifth round, and 9 in Age 25 Milestone Screening.
  • Total number of surgically confirmed thyroid cancer cases has increased by 3 to 221 (101 in the first round, 55 in the second round, 29 in the third round, 29 in the fourth round, 1 in the fifth round, and 6 in Age 25 Milestone Screening,

The latest overall results including the “unreported” and cancer registry cases

    Please refer to the previous post regarding details of “unreported” cases and cancer registry data.

    Official count, as reported in the summary document shown in the next section, is 266 suspected/confirmed and 221 surgically confirmed thyroid cancer cases. An addition of more recent “unreported” cases as well as “outside” cases discovered in cancer registry makes the count a little more complete with 325 cytologically suspected/confirmed and 264 surgically confirmed cancer cases. It should be noted that the actual number of cases is likely more than these as no exhaustive investigation has been and will be conducted by FMU to fully report all the cancer cases discovered outside the framework of the FHMS-TUE.

Summary on the current status of the TUE

    A six-page summary of the first through fifth rounds as well as the Age 25 Milestone Screening, “The Status of the Thyroid Ultrasound Examination Results,” lists key findings from the primary and confirmatory examinations as well as the surgical information. 

    Below is an unofficial translation of this summary which is not officially translated.

#43 Status of the Thyroid Ultrasound Examination Results (October 15, 2021) by Yuri Hiranuma on Scribd

https://fukushimavoice-eng2.blogspot.com/?fbclid=IwAR36p5jp3uy-KurJ5LqciYb3ocx6SFhKVQX97rI4EYXfWfh5DCb-6yaKPNA

April 17, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | Leave a comment

I couldn’t tell anyone for 10 years

February 2, 2022
Six men and women between the ages of 17 and 27 who lived in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident filed a lawsuit against TEPCO on January 27, claiming they suffered from thyroid cancer due to radiation exposure from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
They filed a lawsuit in the Tokyo District Court claiming a total of 616 million yen in damages. The main issue in the trial is expected to be whether or not there is a causal relationship between radiation exposure and thyroid cancer.

Lawyers and plaintiffs hold a press conference.
At the House of Representatives in Nagata-cho, Tokyo.

The six people in question, aged between 6 and 16 at the time of the accident, are high school students, temporary workers and employees living in the counties of Fukushima, Tokyo and Kanagawa. Two of them had a lobe of the thyroid removed, and the other four had to have the whole thyroid removed because of recurrence (in the case of one of them, metastasis had spread to the lungs). All of them had to stop their studies or their professional activity in order to undergo these surgical procedures and medical treatments. They live in fear and anxiety of a recurrence, and their daily lives have been curtailed due to fatigue and weakness caused by the disease.

The complaint points out that many of the thyroid cancers found in children in Fukushima County – including the six plaintiffs – are not hereditary and that the only possible trigger is radiation exposure. If there are other causes, it is up to TEPCO to prove it, she says.

Normally, the number of reported cases of thyroid cancer in children diagnosed is about 1 to 2 per 1 million. After the nuclear accident, a prefectural health survey in Fukushima Prefecture found about 300 people either suspected of having thyroid cancer or already diagnosed. But the expert commission appointed by the department said it “does not recognize for the moment” a causal relationship with radiation exposure.

For its part, the operator TEPCO announced that it would respond in good faith after learning more about the claims and allegations of the plaintiffs.


I want to change the situation by raising my voice

“We have spent the last ten years without telling anyone because we were afraid of being discriminated against if we revealed that we had thyroid cancer,” said one of the plaintiffs, 26, at a press conference in Tokyo on the afternoon of January 27. “But about 300 children have thyroid cancer,” she said, fighting back tears that choked her. “I want to improve the situation, if only a little, by raising my voice.

The woman from Nakadôri, in central Fukushima Prefecture, was a second-year university student when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2015 at the age of 19. The following year, after one of her thyroid lobes was removed, her physical strength decreased dramatically. As her health continued to deteriorate, she left the advertising agency where she was working in Tokyo after graduating from university after a year and a half. She is currently an office worker in Tokyo. She says, “I had to give up my dream job, and I am still struggling to do my job properly. I don’t have any dreams or hopes for the future.
Immediately after she was diagnosed with cancer, she felt very uncomfortable when the doctor told her that the disease had nothing to do with the nuclear accident.


That day, we were moving things…

The plaintiff at a press conference after her decision to sue TEPCO.
lawsuit against TEPCO.

The young woman’s mother, who was with her daughter when she was diagnosed, suddenly remembered what they were doing on March 14, 2011, the day of the hydrogen explosion in the No. 3 unit of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. They were outside their grandparents’ house, which was half destroyed by the earthquake, helping them move their belongings. At the end of the day, as soon as the mother heard about the explosion at the plant, she brought her daughter inside. “That day, I shouldn’t have asked you for a hand with the move,” the mother whispered as she drove home from the hospital. It was the only time she showed any remorse for forcing this moving chore on her daughter.

Before she was told she had cancer, the young woman had to travel back and forth between Fukushima and Tokyo for tests. However, the Fukushima county fully covers the medical expenses covered by the health insurance, but not the transportation expenses. So she took long-distance buses, which are cheaper than the high-speed train, but these trips became more and more physically demanding.
Surgery and medical examinations in Tokyo, a heavy financial burden

After the diagnosis, because of her distrust of the hospitals in Fukushima, she preferred to have surgery and medical examinations in Tokyo. Each time, her parents accompanied her. She had to pay the entire cost of the endoscopic surgery to minimize the scars on her neck out of her own pocket, as it was not covered by the prefectural aid at that time.

With all the demands of her treatment, she failed to apply for a renewal of her university scholarship, and by her third year of study, she had to pay her full tuition.

“When I heard my parents talking about taking a large amount of money out of their life insurance to fund my expenses, I felt depressed that I had caused them so much trouble,” she said.
Fear of recurrence: ‘I’m anxious about what comes next’.

After the surgery, she often caught colds, developed pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma. However, she can only receive assistance if the care is recognized as part of the treatment for thyroid cancer. The department has set up an annual budget, funded by a state grant, to cover medical expenses “for as long as possible,” according to the Department of Health Survey, but it’s unclear how long that will last. The young woman, who is still afraid of a recurrence, and feels very anxious about what will happen to her in the future, is therefore asking for more aid.

The article in Japanese in Tokyo Shimbun published on January 27, 2022

https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/156781

February 3, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

“I can’t think about marriage, childbirth or the future”

January 30, 2022
A 26-year-old woman with thyroid cancer and lung metastasis sues TEPCO.

Tokyo Shimbun, January 19, 2022

Six young people who developed thyroid cancer after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are seeking to establish the responsibility of TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) in court. They have strong doubts that, despite the discovery of thyroid cancer in about 300 people who were children at the time of the accident, no causal link with the accident has been recognized, especially since a reduction in the number of examinations is being considered. “I don’t want this to continue as if nothing happened,” said a 26-year-old woman who lives in the Nakadôri area of central Fukushima Prefecture and is worried about her future after learning that her cancer has spread to her lungs.


17 years old “Why me?”

“The doctor told me there was something suspicious in my neck in addition to the shadow detected on my lungs. I can’t think about marriage, having a child, or anything else in the future,” she says quietly at home that morning of November 11 before heading to her part-time job.

She goes to the hospital once every three months. Her heart sinks when she sees a young child in the waiting room. “The cancer was detected during a test when I was asymptomatic. Reducing the test[1] may not save lives.”

She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in March 2013, just before she started her third year of high school, at age 17. “I was told that if I didn’t have surgery, I might not live until I was 23. I tried to believe that everything was okay, even though I kept asking myself, Why me?”

The plaintiff, who underwent two operations to remove her thyroid gland and will have to take medication for the rest of her life. medication for the rest of her life,
is in Fukushima Prefecture.

Two surgeries, a room like a prison cell

Her 57-year-old mother held back tears as she heard the diagnosis along with her daughter. Her daughter entered high school in April 2011, just after the nuclear accident. At first, she wore a mask to protect herself from inhaling radioactive material, but she soon stopped wearing it. She walked 40 minutes each way to school, and participated in outdoor physical education classes. Her mother’s mind was filled with regret: “If only we had evacuated,” she said.

The girl wanted to go to university in Tokyo, but her mother, worried about her health, prevented her from doing so, and she went to university in the nearby prefecture. However, six months later, she began to feel lethargic, tired and had irregular periods. So she was retested.

“There is a recurrence on the remaining lobe of the thyroid gland. There was also a shadow on the lung,” the doctor told her. “I am not cured,” she said, breaking down in tears with her mother. She dropped out of college at age 19 to focus on her treatment.

The two surgeries and tests were difficult trials to endure. During one test, the deeper the needle went into her throat, the more painful it was. She had to undergo three sessions of iratherapy[2]. 2] She was placed in isolation in a cell-like room where she tried to cope by looking out a leaded window.


…but now I want to look forward.

On the day of the coming-of-age ceremony, her playful daughter told her father that she was happy to be able to wear a kimono. Her mother was shocked to learn that their daughter had contemplated death. “I have cancer, I won’t live long,” she repeated to herself, half-joking. This breaks her mother’s heart: “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her.

Her cancer marker values are higher than before the operation. Because of fears of recurrence and metastasis, she has given up on the idea of a full-time job in her desired profession. But now she wants to look ahead. “If it wasn’t the accident, why are there so many children with thyroid cancer? Maybe there will be more in the future. I feel I have to do what I can now.

EDITOR’S NOTE
[1] Thyroid ultrasound examination of people living in Fukushima Prefecture who were under 18 years old at the time of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident is conducted by Fukushima Prefecture. The decrease in the number of examinations is under discussion; the examination would be a source of concern for the examinees, and these examinations possibly followed by surgery would be a source of overdiagnosis.
[2] Radioactive Iodine Treatment
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/154986?fbclid=IwAR3kenQXIPf2itXHKTp8qU4t-uWy4o8hdjntp1bTmwIDdzpJuiNPBPLAYS8

January 31, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“I couldn’t tell anyone for ten years” – Six teenagers who developed thyroid cancer after the nuclear accident file lawsuit against TEPCO 

 

“””We’re scared to be discriminated against when we say we’ve got thyroid cancer, we’ve spent the last 10 years without telling anyone.”””

“But there are approximately 300 children suffering from thyroid cancer.”

“I want to change the situation for the better by raising my voice.”

Six men and women between the ages of 17 and 27 who were living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident filed a lawsuit against TEPCO on April 27, claiming that they had thyroid cancer due to radiation exposure caused by the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. On the 27th, six men and women between the ages of 17 and 27, who were living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident, filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court demanding a total of 616 million yen in damages including compensation from TEPCO. The biggest point of contention in the lawsuit is expected to be whether or not there is a causal relationship between radiation exposure and thyroid cancer.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers hold a press conference after filing a lawsuit against TEPCO for compensation for thyroid cancer caused by exposure to radiation from the nuclear power plant accident at the First Legislative Assembly Hall in the House of Representatives in Nagata-cho, Tokyo.

January 27, 2022
The six, who were between the ages of 6 and 16 at the time of the accident, are high school students, part-time workers, and office workers living in Fukushima Prefecture, Tokyo, and Kanagawa Prefecture. They were diagnosed with thyroid cancer in their teens, two had one side of their thyroid gland removed, four had it completely removed due to recurrence, and one had it spread to their lungs. They have had to quit college or work due to the surgery and treatment, and are also worried about the recurrence of the disease as their daily lives are restricted.
 The complaint points out that most of the thyroid cancers found in children in Fukushima Prefecture, including the six children, are not hereditary and that no cause other than radiation exposure is possible. It argues that if there are other causes, TEPCO needs to prove them.
 Normally, the number of cases of thyroid cancer in children that are diagnosed and reported is about one to two per one million people per year. After the nuclear accident, about 300 people were diagnosed with thyroid cancer or suspected of having thyroid cancer in Fukushima Prefecture through prefectural health surveys and other means, but the prefectural expert panel has stated that a causal relationship with radiation exposure is “not recognized at this time.

A plaintiff woman holds a press conference after filing a lawsuit against TEPCO.

I want to change the situation by raising my voice.
 On the afternoon of April 27, the plaintiff, 26, held a press conference in Tokyo after filing her lawsuit. In a press conference held in Tokyo after the lawsuit was filed, the plaintiff, 26, choked back tears as she made her appeal. There are still about 300 children suffering from thyroid cancer. I want to change the situation for the better by raising my voice, even if only a little.
 A woman from Nakadori in central Fukushima Prefecture was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2015, when she was a 19-year-old sophomore in college. After an operation to remove one side of her thyroid gland the following year, her physical strength dropped drastically. Her physical condition continued to deteriorate, and she left the advertising agency where she had worked after graduating from university in Tokyo after a year and a half. She is now working as an office worker in Tokyo. She said, “I had to give up my dream job, and it’s still hard for me to work properly. I no longer have any dreams or hopes for the future.
 Immediately after being informed of her cancer, she felt uncomfortable when the doctor told her that it had nothing to do with the nuclear accident.

She was moving outside that day…
 When her mother heard this with her, March 14, 2011, the day of the hydrogen explosion at the Unit 3 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, came to her mind. She was outside helping her grandparents move their belongings out of their house, which was half destroyed by the disaster. When I heard about the explosion in the evening, I immediately brought the woman inside. I wish I hadn’t let her help me move at that time,” she said. I wish I hadn’t let her help me move. This was the only time she showed any regret.
 The woman traveled back and forth between Fukushima and Tokyo many times for the tests before she was notified. The prefectural government provides full support for insured medical expenses, but does not include transportation costs. I took a long-distance bus, which is cheaper than the bullet train, but it became physically demanding.

Surgeries and examinations in Tokyo, a heavy burden
 Because of her distrust of hospitals in Fukushima, she underwent surgeries and tests in Tokyo after she was notified. Her parents traveled to Tokyo each time, and the endoscopic surgery she underwent to reduce the scar on her neck as much as possible was not covered by the prefectural government at the time, so she had to pay for it herself.
 As the treatment continued, the woman forgot to apply for a non-repayable scholarship from the university, and from her third year, she had to pay the full tuition. She said, “When I heard my parents asking for advice on reconfiguring their insurance, I felt depressed that I had caused them so much trouble.

Fear of recurrence: “I’m worried about what will happen next.
 After the surgery, she caught colds frequently and developed pneumonia, bronchitis, and asthma. However, unless it is recognized as treatment for thyroid cancer, he is not eligible for support. The prefectural government’s support for medical expenses is budgeted every year with the government’s subsidies as the source, and “will continue for as long as possible,” according to the prefectural government’s Civil Health Survey Division, but there is no telling how long it will last. However, there is no way to know how long the support will last. The woman said, “I am always afraid of a recurrence, and I am very anxious about what will happen to me in the future. (Natsuko Katayama)

https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/156781?fbclid=IwAR1W3fEvpnge1RiedoQw863o8vpHEYxJjkcpBAMjxjnGYQFcT31h5unzBI4

January 28, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

6 people to sue TEPCO over thyroid cancer after Fukushima nuclear disaster

How may Tepco use now the word “sincerely” when they have shown the whole world their dishonesty and their lack of sincerity repeatedly for the past 10 years?

Kenichi Ido, left, head of the legal team for a group of plaintiffs set to sue TEPCO over thyroid cancer, speaks during a press conference in Tokyo on Jan. 19, 2022. (Mainichi/Kazuhiro Toyama)

January 21, 2022 (Mainichi Japan)

TOKYO — A group of six young men and women is set to file a class action suit against Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO) claiming that they developed thyroid cancer due to exposure to radiation emanating from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and demand the utility pay a total of 616 million yen (about $5.4 million) in compensation.

It will be the first group lawsuit in Japan by those who were minors at the time of the 2011 nuclear disaster and have since been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

The plaintiffs, now aged between 17 and 27, were living in Fukushima Prefecture when the nuclear meltdowns occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in March 2011, and developed thyroid cancer after the disaster. They are filing the damages suit with the Tokyo District Court on Jan. 27, according to the legal counsel for the plaintiffs who revealed the plan at a press conference on Jan. 19.

An expert investigation committee set up by the Fukushima Prefectural Government has not recognized the causal relationship between radiation exposure from the Fukushima disaster and thyroid cancer, and whether there is such a correlation could be the focal issue in the lawsuit.

The six plaintiffs were aged between 6 and 16 at the time of the nuclear disaster. They were diagnosed with thyroid cancer between 2012 and 2018. Two of them had one side of their thyroid removed, while the other four had their thyroid fully extracted and need to take hormonal drugs for the rest of their lives. One of the patients had cancer spread to their lungs. Some of them currently reside in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government has conducted a survey on thyroid glands covering some 380,000 people aged 18 or younger who were living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the nuclear catastrophe. As of June 2021, 266 people had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer or suspected thyroid cancer. According to the legal team for the plaintiffs, five of the six complainants had their cancer detected in the prefectural survey. The remaining plaintiff found out about their cancer through testing at a hospital they voluntarily underwent.

According to the legal counsel, the cancer discovery rate in the Fukushima Prefecture survey stands several tens of times higher than usual. While the prefectural government points to the possibility of “overdiagnosis” through which many cancer cases requiring no treatment have been found, the plaintiffs’ cancer has actually progressed, the legal team asserted. The lawyers argue that none of the six plaintiffs’ cancer is hereditary, and that it is extremely highly likely that they developed their conditions due to the nuclear disaster.

In past pollution lawsuits including those over Minamata disease, there is a court precedent in which the company responsible for the pollution was ruled liable for compensation unless it could prove there was no causal relationship between the contamination and the plaintiffs’ diseases. The attorneys for the upcoming lawsuit claim that this decision could also be applied to nuclear plant accidents and that TEPCO should bear the burden of proving the absence of a causal link between radiation exposure and thyroid cancer.

Kenichi Ido, head of the legal counsel, commented, “Some plaintiffs have had difficulties advancing to higher education and finding jobs, and even given up on their dreams for their future.”

TEPCO released a comment saying, “We will respond to the case sincerely after hearing the content of their claims and their arguments in detail.”

(Japanese original by Kazuhiro Toyama, Tokyo City News Department)

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220121/p2a/00m/0na/018000c

January 24, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tepco sued over thyroid cancer cases – 6 people aged 6-16 at time of Fukushima nuclear accident – Tokyo District Court

Kenichi Ido, a former judge and head of the legal team, pointed out that “the Japanese government is assuming that there is no health damage caused by the accident. Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer, said, “There is strong social pressure to believe that cancer is not caused by the accident, and it took a lot of courage for the six people to file the lawsuit, which is why the time has come.

Lawyers hold a press conference on the policy of filing lawsuits for six people who have developed thyroid cancer in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo on the afternoon of March 19.

January 19, 2022

Six people who were between the ages of 6 and 16 years old at the time of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co. On April 19, it was learned that six people, aged 6-16 at the time of the accident and living in Fukushima Prefecture, will file a lawsuit against TEPCO in the Tokyo District Court, seeking a total of 616 million yen in damages. This is believed to be the first lawsuit in which residents are suing for damage caused by the nuclear accident on the grounds that they have developed thyroid cancer.

The legal team representing the six revealed this at a press conference on the same day. The lawsuit is scheduled to be filed on the 27th.
 According to the lawyers, the six are currently residing in Tokyo, Kanagawa, and Fukushima prefectures. Four of them have had their thyroid glands surgically removed, and some have undergone multiple surgeries because of metastasis or recurrence.
 The Fukushima Prefectural Health Survey, which covers about 380,000 people who were under the age of 18 at the time of the accident, revealed 266 cases of cancer or suspected cancer in its report last October. In October last year, it was revealed that 266 people had cancer or suspected cancer. Some experts have pointed out the possibility of “over-diagnosis,” in which cancers that do not require treatment are found, but the lawyers are claiming that all six of the cases required surgery, and that this was due to the accident.
 On the other hand, the review committee for the prefectural health survey has stated that radiation is unlikely to be a factor in the development of thyroid cancer.
 Kenichi Ido, a former judge and head of the legal team, pointed out that “the Japanese government is assuming that there is no health damage caused by the accident. Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer, said, “There is strong social pressure to believe that cancer is not caused by the accident, and it took a lot of courage for the six people to file the lawsuit, which is why the time has come.
 TEPCO commented, “If the complaint is served, we will respond in good faith.
https://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=2022011900881&g=soc&fbclid=IwAR0jA-AAx_XojY5Yngsp4n7eU8UrPgEU8A66AiSEXanInMIleC49saU_MWE

January 24, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Six people to sue Tepco over thyroid cancer after Fukushima disaster

The No. 1 and No. 2 reactor buildings of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture

Jan 19, 2022

Six people are set to sue Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. over thyroid cancer that they claim they developed due to exposure to radioactive substances released from the 2011 triple reactor meltdown at its stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, their lawyers said Wednesday.

The plaintiffs, who were between the ages of 6 and 16 at the time of the nuclear disaster and lived in Fukushima Prefecture, home to the plant, will seek ¥616 million in total damages.

This is believed to be the first lawsuit involving Fukushima Prefecture residents suing Tepco over thyroid cancer in connection with the nuclear disaster.

The six plan to file the suit with Tokyo District Court on Jan. 27, the lawyers said during a news conference.

They currently live in Tokyo, Kanagawa Prefecture and Fukushima Prefecture. Four of them have had their entire thyroid glands removed, the lawyers said. Some have undergone multiple rounds of surgery because of cancer metastasis or recurrence, they said.

A health survey by the Fukushima prefectural government, which covered some 380,000 people age 18 or younger at the time of the disaster, showed in October last year that 266 people had cancer or suspected cancer.

Some experts have pointed out the possibility of overdiagnosis, or the discovery of cancers that do not require treatment. The lawyers claimed that the plaintiffs developed cancer due to the nuclear disaster and needed to undergo surgeries.

A review committee on the prefectural health survey has said that the thyroid cancer apparently has nothing to do with what happened at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in March 2011.

Kenichi Ido, a former judge who leads the lawyers, criticized the Japanese government for determining that there has been no health damage from the disaster.

Lawyer Hiroyuki Kawai said that “there is strong social pressure to believe that cancer is not caused by the accident, so it took a lot of courage for the six plaintiffs to file the lawsuit.”

January 20, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | 1 Comment

Six people who were children at the time of the accident are suing TEPCO, claiming that they developed thyroid cancer due to exposure to radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident.

A woman has decided to file a lawsuit against TEPCO. She will have to have her entire thyroid gland removed and continue taking the medication in her hand for the rest of her life in Fukushima Prefecture.

January 19, 2022
 Six men and women between the ages of 17 and 27 who were living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident filed a lawsuit against TEPCO on January 27, claiming that they developed thyroid cancer due to radiation exposure caused by the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. On April 27, six men and women aged 17 to 27 who were living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident filed a lawsuit against TEPCO in the Tokyo District Court, seeking a total of 616 million yen in damages. According to the lawyers, this is the first time that patients who developed thyroid cancer as children are suing TEPCO because of the nuclear accident. (Natsuko Katayama)
Defense: “We can’t think of any cause other than radiation exposure.
 The lawsuit is filed by four people who lived in Fukushima City and Koriyama City, and one each in the Aizu region in the western part of the prefecture and the Hamadori region in the eastern part of the prefecture. They were between the ages of 6 and 16 at the time of the accident, and are now high school students or working as office workers or part-time employees in the prefecture or in Tokyo.
 Two have had one side of their thyroid gland removed, four have had total thyroidectomy due to recurrence, and are undergoing or planning to undergo radiation therapy. Some have had four operations and others have metastasized to the lungs. Some have had four surgeries and others have had their lungs metastasized. The treatments and surgeries have forced them to give up their desired jobs, drop out of college, or retire. They are not only worried about relapse, but also about whether they will be able to get married or have children.
 The lawyers argued that most of the thyroid cancers found in the children, including the six, were papillary cancers, which were confirmed in children and young adults after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, and that they were not hereditary and could not be caused by anything other than radiation exposure. Kenichi Ido, the head of the legal team, said, “Many of the cancers have recurred, so it is hard to imagine overdiagnosis. TEPCO should admit that the cause of the cancer was the nuclear accident and provide relief as soon as possible.
The expert panel’s position is that a causal relationship cannot be established.
 With regard to the causal relationship between exposure to radiation from the nuclear power plant accident and thyroid cancer, the Fukushima prefectural government’s expert panel has taken the position that “no causal relationship can be recognized at this time.
 Since the nuclear accident, the prefecture has been conducting tests for thyroid cancer as a part of the prefectural health survey for a total of about 380,000 people who were under the age of 18 at the time of the accident and who were born before April 1, 2012 (including those who evacuated from the prefecture).
 Normally, the incidence of pediatric thyroid cancer is estimated to be about one to two cases per one million people per year, but according to the survey and other findings, by June last year, about 300 people had developed thyroid cancer or thyroid cancer-related diseases. By June last year, however, about 300 people had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer or suspected of having thyroid cancer. All the medical expenses are covered by the “Prefectural Health Care Fund” established with financial support from the government and compensation from TEPCO.
 The expert panel is continuing to investigate the results of the diagnoses, saying, “It has been pointed out that there is a possibility of over-diagnosis, finding cancers that do not need treatment in the future.
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/154959?fbclid=IwAR06xqKA6vo3utW1-lfN3PIkFiBnS20b6BMD1WAXyzUo5yJKMzU3KU5elGs

January 19, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

“Oops”: Manipulated childhood cancer data hides radiation impact, harms public health protection

It is morally wrong to conceal or manipulate data! Doing so can and will “enshrine the withholding of life-enhancing or life-saving treatment for victims of radiation exposure.” It will also hinder current and future studies into the effects of radiation.

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July 19, 2019

This article relies heavily on postings at Fukushima Voice version 2e. Revelations and analysis below would be impossible without the painstaking translations and thoughtful discussion Fukushima Voice provides.

As the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe unfolded in March 2011, experts began applying lessons (some poorly learned or incomplete) from other nuclear disasters, primarily Chernobyl. After Chernobyl, it took nearly a decade for official experts to admit what data were revealing: exposure to radioiodine, one of the nuclides released from nuclear power disasters, increases thyroid cancer. Those who were children at the time of their exposure were particularly vulnerable. As radioactive clouds blanketed the areas surrounding the melting Fukushima reactors, officials were conflicted about the application of stable potassium iodide (KI) to keep radioiodine from penetrating the thyroids of members of the public.

Shunichi Yamashita, a doctor who had studied thyroid cancers in the Chernobyl-contaminated areas, expected no impact from radioiodine exposure. Reports differ, however, with some saying that Yamashita was publicly claiming no danger, while secretly telling experts he had serious concern about child thyroid cancer. He encouraged those who may have been exposed to protect themselves against radiation by being in a good mood and laughing. FMU had taken the precautionary measure of distributing KI to its staff members and their children. FMU claimed this was to cajole nervous hospital staff into staying during the initial disaster, rather than to protect their health. The staff, however, was sworn to secrecy regarding this decision. Fukushima Prefecture failed to tell FMU to administer KI to the public. FMU waited for Yamashita to inform the issue and he said taking KI was unnecessary, so many in the public were left unprotected. “Yamashita admitted that he had given incorrect information shortly after the disaster when he advised FMU not to dispense potassium iodide tablets to children.” After he had made his decision, he reportedly looked at the fallout maps and said “Oops”.

In the wake of continuing contamination threat and public concern, the Fukushima Prefectural government tasked FMU with overseeing the Fukushima Health Management Survey (FHMS) of which thyroid ultrasound examinations (TUEs) were to be a part. Oversight committees were formed to issue reports on data collected through the FHMS. Yamashita was put in charge of the FHMS, making those who had claimed there was no danger from radioiodine exposure the ones in charge of researching the results of their mistake. In fact, Yamashita has “commented that the main aim of the Health Survey is to reassure people.”

Later, when Dr. Yamashita stepped down as head of the FHMS (he remains Vice President of FMU), some claimed he was leaving not because he ran the study poorly, but because he failed to communicate properly. (Yamashita is still involved with the study – his name appearing on much of the published research ostensibly based on FMU data.) Yet from the outset, FMU has provided incomplete and misleading thyroid data from the FHMS to the oversight committees, resulting in reports that are confusing, with conclusions that even by the committee’s reckoning are unreliable. Outside researchers have also noticed this poor quality. Despite obvious shortcomings, Fukushima thyroid data are being wielded to alter the way we study radiation’s impact on thyroid, and to downplay the world-wide increases current research is revealing.

Missing and misused data

FMU is keeping some primary clinical and demographic data hidden, even from the oversight committees, despite the committees’ repeated requests that these data be shared. FMU shares analytical results that are derived from this data but these results are often manipulated – such as with comparisons to data from Chernobyl data that have been misrepresented. At the most recent press conference, June 3, 2019, committee members were asked to grade the conclusions of their report based on the information provided by FMU. They graded the report reliability at under 60%, citing lack of dose information and missing cases.

FMU has failed to report all the thyroid surgeries conducted either by it or other facilities. Since childhood thyroid cancers are rare under normal circumstances, missing even one case can skew data results. Further, FMU has changed data presentation so that it is not comparable to previously collected data. This will probably curtail current, independent, ongoing research into any connection between thyroid cancers and radiation exposure.

FMU often uses methodologies for data analysis that are unclear, illogical, and therefore unable to be explained (Makino, in publication) much less replicated. Attempts to correct some of these shortcomings have not fully succeeded. Much of the data uncertainty is only discernible to those with Japanese language skills. The datasets have never been published in their entirety in Japanese and the fact that data are missing has never been officially disclosed in English.

For any health study, the most reliable data come from comparing disease outcomes among those who were exposed to the pollutant in question (in this case radioiodine), to those who were unexposed. Having an unexposed population is especially important when it is hard to know what level people were exposed to. The amount of disease in the unexposed population is considered a baseline, or the amount that would occur in a population naturally. If the amount of a disease, such as thyroid cancer, is increased in the exposed population compared to the unexposed, the pollutant in question may be responsible.

However, FMU is insisting that they can establish thyroid cancer baseline with data collected beginning in late 2011 using exposed populations. At first, researchers said that the number of thyroid cancers discovered between late 2011 through 2013 – dubbed the first round examinations, would determine baseline cases. Researchers are now claiming that true baseline may include cases that were discovered through 2016 when the second round examination was scheduled for completion. This shifting baseline imperils reliability of thyroid data and further calls into question the methodologies of the researchers tasked with assessing health impacts of radiation.

The minimum latency for thyroid cancer, according to the World Trade Center Health Program, is 1 year (in persons under 20 years old) to 2.5 years. These latencies are based, in part, on the National Academy of Sciences findings on low-dose radiation exposure. But FMU researchers are claiming that if any thyroid cancers were discovered between 2011 and 2013 (or now 2016) these cases would not be attributed to radiation. In fact, these cases could have developed or grown faster because of Fukushima radiation exposure according to accepted latency, but FMU would consider them “normal” or “baseline”, in effect hiding the true impacts of exposure.

FMU claims that the increased cases of thyroid cancer found through TUE are probably due to overdiagnosis, implying that these cancers were “quiet” and would have remained clinically hidden had monitoring not occurred. But enough of these cancers had metastasized to other areas of the body that surgical removal was indicated (slide 12) for the vast majority of them. In the absence of screening, these cancers would have been caught later, probably requiring more aggressive treatment, leading to a decreased quality of life.

Thyroid cancer data from pre-Fukushima Japan indicates some differences with the post-Fukushima thyroid cancers in the FHMS. For instance, tumor size at removal was smaller for FHMS cases, yet invasion to other tissues was higher, indicating not only that surgical removal was necessary, but that these post-Fukushima smaller tumors could be more aggressive. The pre-Fukushima data from Japan is a very small sample size, so further research should be done. It should be noted that tumor size and invasiveness from FMU cases most closely resemble not those of pre-Fukushima Japan, but those of Belarus post Chernobyl.

Despite misused and missing data, the committee made comparisons of these data to dose estimates from the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), which are based on deposition of radiocesium. But the deposition pattern of radiocesium does not necessarily mimic where radioiodine travelled, so doses using this method are full of “significant uncertainties” and should probably not be used. The irony is radioidine is a known exposure concern during the initial phase of a nuclear power catastrophe, so direct radioiodine measurements could and should have been taken. If they were taken, they should be used. This does not appear to be the case with radioiodine from Fukushima.

Mishandling of data misleads future research and jeopardizes public health

One FHMS committee member, Toru Takano, makes the highly controversial claim that thyroid cancer in children will eventually become “self-limiting” therefore, current screenings are leading to overdiagnosis and unnecessary surgery because these cancers will stop growing and not cause death. There is no scientific proof that childhood thyroid cancers will “self-limit” even after they start invading other organs. Nor is there scientific support for a subclinical pool of thyroid cancer in children, another claim made by FMU researchers. Following on the overdiagnosis trope, some are now questioning whether screening should also be curtailed because it is too psychologically damaging.

It is no surprise then, that the FHMS thyroid committees continue to debate the usefulness of screening, despite clinical indications that screenings have led to necessary surgical removal of invasive thyroid cancers. Yet international bodies like International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) are starting to recommend against systematic thyroid screening after a catastrophe like Fukushima, for fear of overdiagnosis and psychological impact. Additionally, IARC’s report, based on input from Fukushima researchers, recommends screening not begin at doses under 100-500 mGy. This despite studies showing increases of thyroid cancer as low as 25mGy for those exposed as children.

In short, Fukushima thyroid data collected and partially hidden from international researchers is being used to alter internationally accepted radiation exposure recommendations.  This is all the more ridiculous since the baseline for thyroid cancer after Fukushima uses people who were exposed to Fukushima radioiodine, rather than using unexposed children, even in the face of unknowable doses.

A revelation that pediatric thyroid cancer increased “in the US 4.43% annually from 1998 to 2013” exposes the need to screen people in the wake of nuclear catastrophes, not backpedal on that responsibility.  Researchers concluded that this was a “true increase” (not due to increased surveillance –a claim made by researchers using the Fukushima data as evidence). Such data necessitate recognition that we have been exposed to nuclear pollutants from bomb and power fallout since the 1940’s. Failing to research the impact radiation has already had on our current disease environment makes it impossible to fully understand the compounding damage caused by additional radiological catastrophes like Fukushima.

In truth, we are no longer starting from zero man-made radiation exposure, so the concept of “overdiagnosis” is skirting irrelevance since a portion of our current disease burden already comes from exposure to anthropogenic radiation exposure. Given independent data and research (which we currently lack), one could tease out what part of thyroid cancers Fukushima radioiodine is responsible for. Teasing out the role older radioiodine exposures play in background thyroid cancer levels throughout the decades is more difficult. Commenting on the pediatric thyroid study, Dr. David Goldenberg, an ENT-otolaryngologist, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine advocates for investigating “whether changes in environmental factors or lifestyle changes are driving part of this increase”. He continues: “it is our role as physicians to protect our patients from complacency and undertreatment. Explaining away thyroid cancers as being subclinical or clinically insignificant is reminiscent of days past when we told our patients: ‘don’t worry, it’s good cancer.’”

Manipulation and concealment of Fukushima thyroid data masks the true impact of radioidine exposure. But it is also beginning to influence the way we study thyroid disease overall, having implications beyond study of Fukushima or Chernobyl. Steps to curb screenings and monitoring are pernicious because they enshrine the withholding of life-enhancing or life-saving treatment for victims of radiation exposure. Further, withholding data from independent researchers will disallow any effort to replicate study conclusions made by FMU and the thyroid committees. This is politics masquerading as authoritative and independent decision-making based on science; in reality, it has no true scientific support and is an attempt to bury the story of radiation’s impact on survivors of Fukushima.

http://www.beyondnuclear.org/radiation-health-whats-new/2019/7/19/oops-manipulated-childhood-cancer-data-hides-radiation-impac.html

August 3, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

High iodine distribution, low intake among children after Fukushima nuclear accident

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December 17, 2018
Despite a high distribution rate of stable iodine after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, only 63.5% of parents reported children took the tablets, with many citing safety concerns in questionnaires, according to findings published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
The intake of stable iodine after a nuclear emergency is a key strategy for preventing childhood thyroid cancer, along with evacuation and other measures, Yoshitaka Nishikawa, MD, a physician and medical researcher in the department of internal medicine at Hirata Central Hospital in Fukushima, Japan, and colleagues wrote in the study background. The timing of iodine administration is optimally between 24 hours before and up to 2 hours after the expected onset of exposure, they noted; however, iodine is still reasonably effective when taken up to 8 hours later. To date, there is limited information about the acceptability and feasibility of implementation of iodine distribution in actual cases, they wrote.
“To prepare for future nuclear emergencies, investigations of the operational issues in an actual case are needed,” the researchers wrote.
In a retrospective, observational study, Nishikawa and colleagues analyzed data from 961 children from Miharu, a town in Fukushima prefecture, who underwent biennial thyroid screenings at Hirata Central Hospital between August and November 2017 (median age at time of accident, 5 years). In addition to the Fukushima Health Management Survey, Miharu has continued thyroid screenings for all primary and secondary school students.
In Miharu, health care professionals distributed stable iodine to 3,134 households (94.9% distribution rate) after explosions at the Fukushima nuclear plant caused by the 2011 earthquake in eastern Japan, along with instructions provided by the local government. Screening and questionnaire records included age of participants at the time of the nuclear accident, sex, region of residence before the accident, whether the participant was evacuated, whether the child and parents took stable iodine orally after the accident and dietary habits, including iodine intake. Researchers used logistic regression models to identify factors associated with stable iodine intake.
Within the cohort, 610 children (63.5%) had taken stable iodine, according to questionnaire data.
Researchers found that children were more likely to take stable iodine provided after the accident if their parents took stable iodine (OR = 61; 95% CI, 37.9-102.9). Compared with preschool and school-aged children, infants (aged 2 years or younger) were less likely to take stable iodine (OR = 0.21; 95% CI, 0.11-0.36).
In assessing questionnaire data from parents who reported children did not take stable iodine (n = 351), concern about safety was the most frequent reason provided (n = 164; 46.2%), followed by evacuation to other areas, no national or prefectural instruction and iodine not being delivered.
“Qualitative analysis revealed that concern about safety was the major reason for avoiding intake,” the researchers wrote. “Other issues related to distribution methods, information about the effects and adverse events and instruction about intake. In future nuclear disasters, it would be important to explain to both children and parents the effects and adverse effects of iodine intake and to provide detailed instructions about the intake of iodine by infants.” – by Regina Schaffer

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Tepco-linked firm employee’s thyroid cancer caused by work after Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown, labor ministry admits

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Officials work last month in the main control room of the crippled No. 3 and 4 reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant operated by Tepco.
 
December 13, 2018
The labor ministry said Wednesday that the thyroid cancer of a male worker, exposed to radiation after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, has been recognized as a work-related disease.
Following the decision by a labor ministry panel of experts, the labor standards inspection office of Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture, reached the conclusion on Monday.
The man in his 50s became the sixth person to be granted a workers’ accident compensation insurance payment over cancer caused by the March 2011 nuclear disaster at the plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. He is the second person to be compensated due to thyroid cancer.
According to the ministry, the man, an employee of a Tepco-related company, was taking part in post-accident emergency work at the Fukushima plant that included a power recovery operation. He had worked at several nuclear plants for some 11 years since November 1993.
Of his cumulative radiation dose of about 108 millisieverts, he received 100 millisieverts after the meltdown.
The man applied for the insurance payment in August 2017, two months after he was diagnosed with cancer.
A total of 16 workers have requested such payments due to cancer they say was caused by the nuclear accident. Five have had their requests turned down while another five cases are still pending.

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

Thyroid cancer impact on children and teens following Fukushima nuclear accident

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December 1, 2018
OVER 180 TEENAGERS and children have been found to have thyroid cancer or suspected cancer following the Fukushima nuclear accident, new research has found. 
A magnitude 9.0 quake – which struck under the Pacific Ocean on 11 March 2011 – and the resulting tsunami caused widespread damage in Japan and took the lives of thousands of people.
The killer tsunami also swamped the emergency power supply at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, sending its reactors into meltdown as cooling systems failed in what was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
As of November, the total of dead or missing from the earthquake and the tsunami stood at 18,434 people, according to the National Police Agency.
In addition, more than 3,600 people – most of them from Fukushima – died from causes such as illness and suicide linked to the aftermath of the tragedy, government data shows.
More than 73,000 people still remain displaced, while no one is officially recorded as having died as a direct result of the nuclear catastrophe.
Cancer concerns 
The accident at the nuclear power station in 2011 has also raised grave concerns about radioactive material released into the environment, including concerns over radiation-induced thyroid cancer. 
Ultrasound screenings for thyroid cancer were subsequently conducted at the Fukushima Health Management Survey. 
The observational study group included about 324,000 people aged 18 or younger at the time of the accident. It reports on two rounds of ultrasound screening during the first five years after the accident.  
Thyroid cancer or suspected cancer was identified in 187 individuals within five years – 116 people in the first round among nearly 300,000 people screened and 71 in the second round among 271,000 screened. 
The overwhelming common diagnosis in surgical cases was papillary thyroid cancer – 149 of 152 cases. 
Worker death
In May, Japan announced for the first time that a worker at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant has died after being exposed to radiation, Japanese media reported.
The man aged in his 50s developed lung cancer after he was involved in emergency work at the plant between March and December 2011, following the devastating tsunami.
The Japanese government has paid out compensation in four previous cases where workers developed cancer following the disaster, according to Jiji news agency. 
However, this was the first time the government has acknowledged a death related to radiation exposure at the plant, the Mainichi daily reported. 
The paper added the man had worked mainly at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and other atomic power stations nationwide between 1980 and 2015. 
Following the disaster, he was in charge of measuring radiation at the plant, and he is said to have worn a full-face mask and protective suit.
He developed lung cancer in February 2016.

December 7, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

Thyroid cancer relapses in some Fukushima children

The 3.11 Fund for Children with Thyroid Cancer made the appeal at a news conference that 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.

 

 

2018/03/01
 
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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March 1, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Thyroid Cancer Detection by Ultrasound Among Residents Ages 18 Years and Younger in Fukushima, Japan: 2011 to 2014

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Background: After the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in March 2011, radioactive elements were released from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Based on prior knowledge, concern emerged about whether an increased incidence of thyroid cancer among exposed residents would occur as a result.

Methods: After the release, Fukushima Prefecture performed ultrasound thyroid screening on all residents ages ≤18 years. The first round of screening included 298,577 examinees, and a second round began in April 2014. We analyzed the prefecture results from the first and second round up to December 31, 2014, in comparison with the Japanese annual incidence and the incidence within a reference area in Fukushima Prefecture.

Results: The highest incidence rate ratio, using a latency period of 4 years, was observed in the central middle district of the prefecture compared with the Japanese annual incidence (incidence rate ratio = 50; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 25, 90). The prevalence of thyroid cancer was 605 per million examinees (95% CI = 302, 1,082) and the prevalence odds ratio compared with the reference district in Fukushima Prefecture was 2.6 (95% CI = 0.99, 7.0). In the second screening round, even under the assumption that the rest of examinees were disease free, an incidence rate ratio of 12 has already been observed (95% CI = 5.1, 23).

Conclusions: An excess of thyroid cancer has been detected by ultrasound among children and adolescents in Fukushima Prefecture within 4 years of the release, and is unlikely to be explained by a screening surge.

http://journals.lww.com/epidem/Citation/2016/05000/Thyroid_Cancer_Detection_by_Ultrasound_Among.3.aspx

September 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment