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Non-thyroid cancer incidence in Belarusian residents exposed to Chernobyl fallout in childhood and adolescence: Standardized Incidence Ratio analysis, 1997-2011.

  • Author(s): Ostroumova, Evgenia
  • Hatch, Maureen
  • Brenner, Alina
  • Nadyrov, Eldar
  • Veyalkin, Ilya
  • Polyanskaya, Olga
  • Yauseyenka, Vasilina
  • Polyakov, Semion
  • Levin, Leonid
  • Zablotska, Lydia
  • Rozhko, Alexander
  • Mabuchi, Kiyohiko
  • et al.


While an increased risk of thyroid cancer from post-Chernobyl exposure to Iodine-131 (I-131) in children and adolescents has been well-documented, risks of other cancers or leukemia as a result of residence in radioactively contaminated areas remain uncertain.


We studied non-thyroid cancer incidence in a cohort of about 12,000 individuals from Belarus exposed under age of 18 years to Chernobyl fallout (median age at the time of Chernobyl accident of 7.9 years). During 15 years of follow-up from1997 through 2011, 54 incident cancers excluding thyroid were identified in the study cohort with 142,968 person-years at risk. We performed Standardized Incidence Ratio (SIR) analysis of all solid cancers excluding thyroid (n=42), of leukemia (n=6) and of lymphoma (n=6).


We found no significant increase in the incidence of non-thyroid solid cancer (SIR=0.83, 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 0.61; 1.11), lymphoma (SIR=0.66, 95% CI: 0.26; 1.33) or leukemia (SIR=1.78, 95% CI: 0.71; 3.61) in the study cohort as compared with the sex-, age- and calendar-time-specific national rates. These findings may in part reflect the relatively young age of study subjects (median attained age of 33.4 years), and long latency for some radiation-related solid cancers.


We found no evidence of statistically significant increases in solid cancer, lymphoma and leukemia incidence 25 years after childhood exposure in the study cohort; however, it is important to continue follow-up non-thyroid cancers in individuals exposed to low-level radiation at radiosensitive ages.

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