Likhtarov, I., Kovgan, L., Vavilov, S., Chepurny, M., Ron, E., Lubin, J., Bouville, A., Tronko, N., Bogdanova, T., Gulak, L., Zablotska, L. and Howe, G. Post-Chornobyl Thyroid Cancers in Ukraine. Report 2: Risk Analysis. Radiat. Res. 166, 375–386 (2006).
On April 26, 1986, the worst nuclear reactor accident to date occurred at the Chornobyl (Chernobyl) power plant in Ukraine. Millions of people in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia were exposed to radioactive nuclides, especially 131I. Since then, research has been conducted on various subgroups of the exposed population, and it has been demonstrated that the large increase in thyroid cancer is related to the 131I exposure. However, because of study limitations, quantified risk estimates are limited, and there remains a need for additional information. We conducted an ecological study to investigate the relationship between 131I thyroid dose and the diagnosis of thyroid cancer in three highly contaminated oblasts in Northern Ukraine. The study population is comprised of 301,907 persons who were between the ages of 1 and 18 at the time of the Chornobyl accident and were living in 1,293 rural settlements in the three study oblasts. Twenty-four percent of the study population had individual thyroid dose estimates and the other 76% had “individualized” estimates of thyroid dose based on direct thyroid measurements taken from a person of the same age and gender living in the same or nearby settlement. Cases include 232 thyroid cancers diagnosed from January 1990 through December 2001, and all were confirmed histologically. Dose–response analyses took into account differences in the rate of ultrasound examinations conducted in the three study oblasts. The estimated excess relative risk per gray was 8.0 (95% CI = 4.6–15) and the excess absolute risk per 10,000 person-year gray was estimated to be 1.5 (95% CI = 1.2–1.9). In broad terms, these estimates are compatible with results of other studies from the contaminated areas, as well as studies of external radiation exposure.