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Radiat Res. 2004 Nov;162(5):505-16.

Lung cancer in Mayak workers.

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Radiation Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20852, USA.


The cohort of nuclear workers at the Mayak Production Association, located in the Russian Federation, is a unique resource for providing information on the health effects of exposure to plutonium as well as the effects of protracted external dose. Lung cancer mortality risks were evaluated in 21,790 Mayak workers, a much larger group than included in previous evaluations of lung cancer risks in this cohort. These analyses, which included 655 lung cancer deaths occurring in the period 1955-2000, were the first to evaluate both excess relative risk (ERR) and excess absolute risk (EAR) models and to give detailed attention to the modifying effects of gender, attained age and age at hire. Lung cancer risks were found to be significantly related to both internal dose to the lung from plutonium and external dose, and risks were described adequately by linear functions. For internal dose, the ERR per gray for females was about four times higher than that for males, whereas the EAR for females was less than half that for males; the ERR showed a strong decline with attained age, whereas the EAR increased with attained age until about age 65 and then decreased. Parallel analyses of lung cancer mortality risks in Mayak workers and Japanese A-bomb survivors were also conducted. Efforts currently under way to improve both internal and external dose estimates, and to develop data on smoking, should result in more accurate risk estimates in the future.

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