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Bull Cancer. 2008 Feb;95(2):191-5. doi: 10.1684/bdc.2008.0574.

[Thyroid cancer after Chernobyl: is iodine 131 the only culprit ? Impact on clinical practice].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Service des isotopes, CHI Le Raincy-Montfermeil, 10 rue du Général-Leclerc, 93370 Montfermeil, France.


The large increase in the incidence of thyroid cancer among children who were mainly less than five years old at the time of the Chernobyl accident is still a major preoccupation for endocrinologists and nuclear physicians. Epidemiological studies have focused solely on iodine 131. However, past knowledge on thyroid irradiation (medical use of iodine 131, radioactive fallout on Marshall islands and the Nevada, and Hanford site releases) as well as number of recent works (about low-dose irradiation), raise question on the role of other factors. It is here shown that post-Chernobyl thyroid irradiation is complex and that all factors (iodine 131, but also short lived isotopes of iodine and external irradiation) should be considered. Finally, one need to think about some of the present medical uses of iodine 131, and especially to the treatment of hyperthyroidism in young subjects.

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