Participants in the liquidation of the Chernobyl accident in 1986, have an increased risk of a type of blood cancer — leukemia, in particular, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, according to a 20-year study, published Thursday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives team of scientists from the U.S., Ukraine and Russia .
A team of scientists from the University of California at San Francisco, the National Cancer Institute (USA) and the Ukrainian National Research Center for Radiation Medicine and Russian Biophysical Center named Burnazyan trace the fate of 110.7 thousand liquidators from 1986 to 2006. It was found that the incidence of leukemia among them more than expected. In particular, the author was surprised by the fact that Chernobyl increasingly ill with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (chronic lymphocytic leukemia). Previously, experts did not associate the disease with exposure to radiation.
Overall, the researchers documented 137 cases of leukemia in 20 years of liquidators surveyed and 16% of them are associated with exposure to radiation from the Chernobyl accident.
The new research will allow better assessment of cancer risk at low doses of radiation, which is important for mining workers, plant employees, and anyone exposed to chronic exposure to low doses, as well as for those who undergo radiation-related medical procedures.
Until now, the best estimates of the effects were obtained in a study of victims after the explosion of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. However, these data can not be mechanically used to assess the risk from exposure to medical radiation — the inhabitants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were exposed to gamma radiation and neutron flux, while the CT scan uses X-rays.
The transfer of these data is difficult because the people of Japan are significantly different from people in Europe and the U.S. with their genetic characteristics, diet and lifestyle. In particular, among the Japanese chronic lymphocytic leukemia occurs in 3% of cases of leukemia, while Ukraine's share is 40%.
Japanese genetics can hide the growth of risk, said study lead author Zablotskaya Lydia (Lydia Zablotska) from the University of San Francisco, as quoted by the press service of the university.
According to the scientists, their work will help close the existing gap is because the doses received by the liquidators at Chernobyl, are in the middle between the impact that the victim suffered atomic bombings in Japan, and that experienced by patients during a CT scan.