Assembling the suite of manuscripts for this special issue of Radiation Research has afforded us a unique opportunity to evaluate the various methods of dosimetry used in support of epidemiological studies as well as the strengths and weaknesses of different dosimetric approaches. Of equal importance is having the opportunity to highlight elements of dosimetry that are especially important to conducting convincing epidemiological studies.

In general, analytical epidemiological studies of radiation effects attempt to combine information on disease (e.g. cancer) occurrence with estimates of radiation dose to individuals such that the relationship between the increase in disease incidence compared to the background rate as a function of the true dose can be described. With regard to the language and science of dosimetry, there are a number of terms, assumptions and implied meanings that are often not clear to the variety of scientists involved in radiation epidemiology studies....

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