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Br J Cancer. 2008 Dec 2;99(11):1940-5. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604775. Epub 2008 Nov 11.

Breast cancer incidence following low-dose rate environmental exposure: Techa River Cohort, 1956-2004.

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  • 1Radiation Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH, MS 7238, 6120 Executive Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20892-7238, USA.


In the 1950s, the Mayak nuclear weapons facility in Russia discharged liquid radioactive wastes into the Techa River causing exposure of riverside residents to protracted low-to-moderate doses of radiation. Almost 10,000 women received estimated doses to the stomach of up to 0.47 Gray (Gy) (mean dose=0.04 Gy) from external gamma-exposure and (137)Cs incorporation. We have been following this population for cancer incidence and mortality and as in the general Russian population, we found a significant temporal trend of breast cancer incidence. A significant linear radiation dose-response relationship was observed (P=0.01) with an estimated excess relative risk per Gray (ERR/Gy) of 5.00 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.80, 12.76). We estimated that approximately 12% of the 109 observed cases could be attributed to radiation.

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