CHILDHOOD EXPOSURE TO DIAGNOSTIC AND MEDICAL IRRADIATION AND ADULT THYROID CANCER
Dissertation by James M. Chandler, N.D. Ph.D March 27, 2011
From a theoretical perspective, this study examines the prevailing theories regarding the exposure, use and safety of radiation within the medical and dental communities as it applies to children and its association with the development of thyroid cancer in adult women. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether the risks of repeated low-dose radiation from these sources is a factor in the perceived increases of thyroid cancers among women. An article search using MEDLINE was used to identify articles containing information relating to thyroid cancer and exposure to medically induced radiation, childhood irradiation, women and thyroid cancer, thyroid cancer and radiation exposure, and dental x-rays and thyroid cancer published in the National Institute of Health’s data base. Most of the research information on radiation exposure is derived from previous meta-analysis studies conducted with atomic bomb survivors in 1944 and from the victims of radiation fallout from the Nuclear power plant accident in Chernobyl, Russian in 1986. Extrapolating data from these studies and using the information to predict or prove theories relating to low and very-low dose radiation is challenging.
The findings of the review show that there is an increase in the numbers of thyroid cancers, especially within the female population and that the use of radioactive diagnostics has increased at the same rate. Further findings implicate low dose and very low dose radiation exposure risks continue throughout life through its cumulative properties within the cells of the body. When exposed to radiation during childhood, the risks of developing thyroid cancer increase over time and with increased exposures.
In conclusion, the Linear No Threshold method of assessing risk for low and very low doses of medically induced radiation is the best method for assessing later risks of thyroid cancer. Medical and dental radiation, when repeated over time and given during childhood, has a plausible causal effect on the development of thyroid gland cancers in women in later life.
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