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#257034 - 03/02/13 04:20 AM Re: WHO pronounces Fukushima cancer risk [Re: spuds]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: spuds
...so nodules in 42% of children's thyroids is 'low risk' as stated in OP link????

Thyroid abnormalities aren't necessarily cancerous. Only a very small percentage will be malignant, and as far as I know, the rest of the nodules do not necessarily cause any symptoms.

Although that high a percentage of thyroid nodules sounds shockingly high, it's not clear if that is actually abnormal for Japan. There are other thyroid surveys that people reference where the number of thyroid nodules is very small, but the definition of what an abnormality is varies significantly between surveys so it's an apples-to-oranges comparison. There are surveys planned or already underway in supposedly uncontaminated parts of Japan to obtain a baseline that the Fukushima results can be compared to.

I say "supposedly" uncontaminated because Tokyo has arranged for mildly radioactive disaster debris to be transported throughout Japan to be incinerated. These facilities are designed to burn normal municipal waste, not hazardous materials, so it's not clear how much radiation will escape to contaminate other parts of Japan. This has been going on for some time already.

A so-called conspiracy theory is that "they" want to raise the level of radiation throughout Japan so that more people outside of Fukushima develop health problems similar to those in Fukushima, thus making it seem like the nuclear disaster was less harmful than it was. Sounds crazy, but I suppose no more crazy than a government that would deliberately contaminate more areas and more citizens with radioactive isotopes that will be around for thousands of years.

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#257036 - 03/02/13 04:54 AM Re: WHO pronounces Fukushima cancer risk [Re: unimogbert]
spuds Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/12
Posts: 822
Loc: SoCal Mtns
Arney,the fact that a large amt of young people now have thyroid nodules,an abnormality,is not a good thing,it doesnt have to be the evil C word to have a dramatic effect on your health.Though apparently it does present a major cancer risk
=============================
From the net...

Thyroid nodules are common and detected in about six percent of women and one to two percent of men.....

Among people who have thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer is found in about 8 percent of men and 4 percent of women.....

=============================

I just read they expect a 70% increase in thyroid cancer amongst the youngest victims.Then they turn around and say since only 0.75% of people get thyroid cancer its a small amt,therefore no big deal.

IMO when a cancer rate increases by 70%,its a BIG deal.

I dont like it as I see it as spin being put on death numbers,and really downplaying a very large statistical increase.Bet if lung,breast or prostate cancer increased 70%,or heart disease increased 70% there would be heck to pay.

Then again the saying 'Statistics lie and liars use statistics'

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#257055 - 03/02/13 05:08 PM Re: WHO pronounces Fukushima cancer risk [Re: spuds]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: spuds
...the fact that a large amt of young people now have thyroid nodules,an abnormality,is not a good thing...

It sounds bad, of course, but is it worse than if the nuclear accident never happened? I want to say that it is, but does the data back that up?

From the same WHO report we're talking about:
Quote:
The prevalence of thyroid nodules varies with the population studied and the methods of detection. Studies using ultrasound show a prevalence of 1935%. Detected prevalence has increased in recent years, likely owing to improved resolution from advanced imaging technology.

If the "normal" percentage of nodules can be as high as 35%--and the prior research may not have been using a fine-toothed comb looking for nodules like they are in Fukushima--how does 42% compare with that? But like I said, there is no good comparison data for Fukushima yet so it's hard to say what "normal" is for the Japanese using the same medical definitions and the same quality of imaging technology until these new surveys are completed.

And besides ultrasound studies, autopsy studies have found thyroid nodules in 50-60% of people by the time they die. Most didn't even know that they had them.

Originally Posted By: spuds
I dont like it as I see it as spin being put on death numbers

Actually, the WHO is not saying anything about deaths, but of developing cancers. And thyroid cancers have a very high cure rate (not that that makes it any easier, for primarily children, to go through it). Will any more children actually die from thyroid cancer attributable to the nuclear disaster? None have so far and it's possible that none will die because thyroid cancer is highly treatable (not to say the treatment doesn't have a lasting impact, like no more thyroid gland).

A report like this is produced for the public health perspective, not the individual's health risk perspective. A significant increase in a rare condition is still a rare condition in the greater scheme of things which can easily be handled by the existing medical system. A small increase in a common condition results in many, many more people needing medical care for that condition which means mobilizing resources to accomodate that increase and that is actually a big deal from a planning perspective.

A 70% increase (even of a rare condition) makes good headlines. A 5% increase of a common condition is not such an interesting headline even though it means a lot more lives are being affected.

For comparison, I just saw this morning that about 75 Japanese have died so far this winter from falls related to clearing snow and ice from roofs. Compare 75 deaths vs 0 thyroid cancer deaths in Fukushima. Which issue is the bigger problem for Japan? (I know, a rather insulting question but I'm just making a point about the numbers involved in some sort of context.)

I'm not trying to sound like an apologist, I'm really not. I've been following the Fukushima situation regularly since the disaster and I think the nuclear meltdown is a tragedy that is still punishing folks to this day in many ways. I just wish the data so far was more clear cut about the damage it has caused.

**************************************************

On a different note, your comment about 70% got me to thinking about another situation. Many of us are enthralled with pharmaceuticals due to advertising about relative changes in risk. You may be dutifully chugging a pill everyday that gives you side effects like impotence because it "slashes" the risk of something undesirable by 50%.

But if a doctor said to you, would you trade impotence for reducing your lifetime risk of X from 2 in 100,000 to 1 in 100,000, would you still want to take that drug? Or, in a more public health way of looking at it, does it make sense to have 100,000 people take some very expensive drug to prevent just one more case of X?

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#257061 - 03/02/13 06:42 PM Re: WHO pronounces Fukushima cancer risk [Re: unimogbert]
spuds Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/12
Posts: 822
Loc: SoCal Mtns
Uh huh,I see WHO making a lot of noise about 'newer' tests,its a common ploy to misinform,Ive seen it before,plenty of times.Rates right up there with the line "Its for the Children" when folks want something.

Bottom line remains,any 'attack' that damages MY body/health isnt acceptable is my point.Zero,nada,not acceptable in any form,at any level.

Yep,'relative risk' is another stat that really confuses the public.

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#257064 - 03/02/13 08:15 PM Re: WHO pronounces Fukushima cancer risk [Re: unimogbert]
JPickett Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/03/12
Posts: 264
Loc: Missouri
After reading all this, my question is: do we keep iodine tabs or kelp or seaweed to consume if we are in a fallout zone? How much iodine/kelp/seaweed do we consume if we're in a fallout zone? For how long? MDINANA, any sound advice?

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#257069 - 03/02/13 08:49 PM Re: WHO pronounces Fukushima cancer risk [Re: unimogbert]
spuds Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/12
Posts: 822
Loc: SoCal Mtns
JP,google is your friend,theres tons of info on it.

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#257134 - 03/04/13 06:14 PM Re: WHO pronounces Fukushima cancer risk [Re: JPickett]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: JPickett
How much iodine/kelp/seaweed do we consume if we're in a fallout zone?

Are you talking about preps for someone who lives near a nuclear power plant in anticipation of some meltdown? I ask because when people say "fallout" they are often referring to nuclear weapons, and that's a different situation. Radioactive iodine is a primary contaminant from nuclear power plants, but not as much from nuclear weapons.

And don't forget that in both cases, dozens of radioactive isotopes are spewed into the environment from the nuclear reaction. The situation with iodine and thyroid cancer just happens to be a convenient combination to try and block with pills. Taking KI pills is not some anti-radiation pill that protects you from all the radiation. That's only in science fiction.

There are standard guidelines for taking potassium iodide pills, like they hand out to residents near nuclear power plants, and just follow the directions on any commercial KI pills out there or what local authorities tell you if there's some nuclear power plant accident. But I think Fukushima has turned many of those assumptions on their head because it's an ongoing nuclear accident instead of a discrete event with a definite end. I'm not sure how much radioactive iodine is still being emitted from Fukushima (probably not that much compared to early on), but other isotopes like cesium-137 and strontium-90 are still leaking and getting into the air and the ocean.

Oceanographers have noted that the level of radiation in the Pacific was expected to spike and then gradually return to a fairly low level. However, in reality, the level only reduced part of the way and then leveled off at a higher than expected level. That suggests that more radiation is being added to the Pacific on an ongoing basis.

There are plenty of people who supplement with iodine long term for health reasons, but it's a risky thing to do without medical supervision because you can screw up your metabolism and thyroid hormone levels with long term supplementation. Eating more iodine rich foods, like kelp and dulse, though, should not be a problem. People like the Japanese eat a lot of it everyday as part of their normal cuisine.

That's probably not exactly the answer you were looking for, JP.

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#257162 - 03/04/13 11:44 PM Re: WHO pronounces Fukushima cancer risk [Re: Arney]
spuds Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/12
Posts: 822
Loc: SoCal Mtns
Originally Posted By: Arney
Originally Posted By: JPickett
How much iodine/kelp/seaweed do we consume if we're in a fallout zone?

Eating more iodine rich foods, like kelp and dulse, though, should not be a problem. People like the Japanese eat a lot of it everyday as part of their normal cuisine.

That's probably not exactly the answer you were looking for, JP.

But that is the right answer for that.All kinds of info at our fingertips on how to prepare and consume those products.

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#257302 - 03/07/13 09:15 PM Re: WHO pronounces Fukushima cancer risk [Re: unimogbert]
spuds Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/12
Posts: 822
Loc: SoCal Mtns

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#257311 - 03/08/13 06:31 AM Re: WHO pronounces Fukushima cancer risk [Re: spuds]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 1929
Loc: Colorado
"WHO pronounces Fukushima cancer risk"

At first, I thought this thread was about the correct pronunciation of "Fukushima", which I will admit, should be pronounced very carefully in mixed company.

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