Atom bomb survivors still experiencing after-effects

In collaboration with the Press Association

Survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War Two are still affected by the radiation released by the blast, researchers have revealed.

The Radiation Effects Research Foundation examined the link between radiation exposure and thyroid problems, including thyroid cancer.

Just under a half of the survivors studied had some form of abnormal growth in their thyroid.

Among the survivors, the risks of thyroid problems increased the younger they were at the time of the blasts, and the more radiation they were exposed to.

This study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first to follow survivors over such a long period of time.

"It is difficult to collect information on the relationship between radiation exposure and the subsequent risk of thyroid disease that is free from any bias," said Sarah Darby, professor of medical statistics at Cancer Research UK. "These conditions are rarely fatal, and some people with a thyroid cyst or nodule do not experience any symptoms.

"This is a unique survey that provides an important insight into the relationship between ionizing radiation and the risk of thyroid cysts and nodules, including cancer," she added.