Fukushima Aftermath: Whither the Indian Point Nuke?/Radiation cancer
Radiation cancer may occur following ionizing radiation exposure following a latent period averaging 20 to 40 years. Various malignancies may develop, most frequency basal-cell carcinoma followed by squamous-cell carcinoma. Elevated risk is confined to the site of radiation exposure. Several studies have also suggested the possibility of a causal relationship between melanoma and ionizing radiation exposure. The degree of carcinogenic risk arising from low levels of exposure is more contentious, but the available evidence points to an increased risk that is approximately proportional to the dose received. Radiologists and radiologic technologists are among the earliest occupational groups exposed to radiation. It was the observation of the earliest radiologists that led to the recognition of radiation-induced skin cancer—the first solid cancer linked to radiation—in 1902. While the incidence of skin cancer secondary to medical ionizing radiation was higher in the past, there is also some evidence that risks of certain cancers, notably skin cancer, may be increased among more recent medical radiation workers, and this may be related to specific or changing radiologic practices. Available evidence indicates that the excess risk of skin cancer lasts for 45 years or more following irradiation.
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