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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1975 Sep;55(3):519-30.

Neoplasms in persons treated with x-rays in infancy: fourth survey in 20 years.


The incidence of neoplastic disease was determined by a mail survey of 2,872 young adults given X-ray treatments in infancy and of their 5,005 nonirradiated siblings. Newly diagnosed benign and malignant neoplasms appeared more frequently in the irradiated subjects than in their siblings or the age- and sex-matched general population of upstate New York. Only thyroid neoplasms occurred in sufficient numbers to permit statistical analysis for the effects on incidence of sex, age, and dose, and of being in a high-risk group (sub-group C). Thyroid cancers developed earlier in life than did benign neoplasms, especially in boys; benign goiters occurred after smaller doses, predominantly in females. Females had a greater risk of developing thyroid cancer than males--2,3 times for females of all ages and 5 times for young adults. Except for young adult females, there was no definite age effect. The risk of cancer (but not of benign goiter) was proportional to the thyroid dose, with a linear risk coefficient of 2.5/year/million people exposed to 1 rad for the entire irradiated population and 4.0 for subgroup C. The high risk of thyroid cancer in subgroup C may be the result of the high percentage of Jews, who had a 3.4-fold greater risk than non-Jews. Young adult Jewish females had a 17-fold increased risk. An incidental observation was an apparent increased incidence of asthma and rare diseases with abnormal immunologic features in the irradiated population.

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