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Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Apr;15(2):96-8. doi: 10.4103/2230-8210.81937.

Nuclear detonation, thyroid cancer and potassium iodide prophylaxis.

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Wiwanitkit House, Bangkhae, Bangkok, Thailand.

Abstract

The recent nuclear disaster at Japan has raised global concerns about effects of radioactive leakage in the environment, associated hazards, and how they can be prevented. In this article, we have tried to explain about the guidelines laid down by World Health Organization for a potassium iodide prophylaxis following a nuclear disaster, and its mechanism of action in preventing thyroid cancer. Data was collected mainly from the studies carried out during the Chernobyl disaster of Russia in 1986 and the hazardous effects especially on the thyroid gland were studied. It was seen that radioactive iodine leakage from the nuclear plants mainly affected the thyroid gland, and especially children were at a higher risk at developing the cancers. Potassium Iodide prophylaxis can be administered in order to prevent an increase in the incidence of thyroid cancers in the population of an area affected by a nuclear disaster. However, one has to be cautious while giving it, as using it without indication has its own risks.

KEYWORDS:

Chernobyl disaster; nuclear detonation and crisis; potassium iodide prophylaxis; radioactive iodine; thyroid cancer; world health organization guidelines

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