donderdag 1 maart 2018

Fukushima and benefits and harms of thyroid screening

Most specialists inside and outside Japan have consensus that thyroid cancers detected during the thyroid screening examinations in Fukushima are not caused by radiation exposure after the nuclear accident. Generally, a screening has also benefits of early detection of diseases, such as cancers or lifestyle diseases that can advance without symptoms, and associated reduction in mortality rates.

Factcheck ‘Children in Fukushima are all right’ – Message from Thyroid Examination Sites
Ryugo Hayano & Sanae Midorikawa | Reporter: Misaki Hattori | 28 februari 2018

Fukushima: schildklier en nucleaire ramp

On the other hand, screening has certain harms. Screening may detect false positives that can be only identified by advanced medical examinations. Another harm is over-diagnosis as found in this thyroid examination program in Fukushima: the screening detects many minor abnormalities that could not be found otherwise and would not kill people. Such harms result not only in unnecessary advanced examinations (including medical radiation exposure) and physical burdens owing to medical interventions, such as a surgery, but also in serious psychological burdens especially in children.

To relieve excessive concerns on thyroid cancer among residents and to enable children and their families to decide whether they participate in the examination or not, it is essential to explain the characteristics of thyroid cancer itself, as well as the benefits and harms of the screening examination. It is an urgent task for local and national media, such as television and newspapers, as well as central and local governments.

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