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Cancer risk among nuclear industry workers

A cohort multinational study was done involving 598 068 nuclear industry workers from 15 countries.// The study was done to estimate the risk of cancer after administrating low doses of radiation.

This study is an international collaborative study to estimate the cancer risk among radiation workers in the nuclear industry to find out the risk of cancer occurrence after low dose exposure of radiation.

The study recruits were employed in 154 different facilities, involved in nuclear power production, research, waste management and industries of fuel, isotope and weapon. During the study period, about 24,158 (5.9%) of recruits died, 6519 from cancer other than leukaemia and 196 from leukaemia (excluding lymphocytic leukaemia).

Results from the study show that there is an increased risk of cancer exists in the recruits even at a low dose and a significant increase risk for all cancers (excluding leukaemia). Some factors like smoking and diet in recruits can have an association between radiation dose and risk of cancer. Some earlier studies have found associations between radiation dose and smoking and while others have not. Factors such as smoking can confound the association between radiation doses and risk only if they are related both to risk of cancer and to dose.

Current recommendations form the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) are to limit occupational doses to 100 Sv (sieverts) over five years (not to exceed 50 Sv in any one year) and doses to the public to 1 Sv per year. This study results show that an exposure of 100 Sv will cause 9.7% mortality from cancer (excluding leukaemia), and a 5.9% increased mortality from cancers excluding leukaemia, lung, and pleura.

Our study is the largest study on nuclear industry workers conducted so far, and provides an estimation of radiation risk. These results suggest that there is an increased risk of cancer occurs even at a lower dose of nucle ar radiation.


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