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Radiat Res. 1991 Jun;126(3):304-16.

Time variations in the risk of cancer following irradiation in childhood.

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Radiological Protection Branch, Berkeley Nuclear Laboratories, Glos, United Kingdom.

Erratum in

  • Radiat Res 1992 Oct;132(1):126.


The Japanese atomic bomb survivors and three other cohorts of children exposed to radiation are analyzed, and evidence is found for a reduction in the radiation-induced relative risk of cancers other than leukemia with time following exposure. Multiplicative adjustments to the excess risk either of the form exp[-delta.(time since exposure)] or of the form [time since exposure] gamma give equivalent goodness of fit. Using the former type of adjustment an annual overall reduction of 6.9-8.6% in excess relative risk is indicated (depending on the year after which this reduction might take effect). Using the second type of multiplier an adjustment to the excess relative risk varying between [time after exposure]-2.0 and [time after exposure]-3.2 fits best overall. All these reductions are statistically significant at the 5% level. There is no significant variation by cohort, by sex, by cancer type, or by age at exposure group in the degree of annual reduction in excess relative risk. Although time-adjusted relative and absolute risk models give equivalently good fits within each cohort, there is significant variation between cohorts in the degree of increase of risk with time in the absolute risk formulation, in contrast to the lack of such heterogeneity for the relative risk formulation. It is shown that if the range of observed reductions in relative risk is assumed to operate 40 or more years after exposure in the youngest age groups, the calculated UK population risks would be reduced by 30-45% compared to those based on a constant relative risk model.

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