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. 1983;3(8):231-9.
doi: 10.1016/0273-1177(83)90193-x.

Late Radiation Responses in Man: Current Evaluation From Results From Hiroshima and Nagasaki


Late Radiation Responses in Man: Current Evaluation From Results From Hiroshima and Nagasaki

W J Schull. Adv Space Res. .


Among the late effects of exposure to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, none looms larger than radiation related malignancies. Indeed, the late effects of A-bomb radiation on mortality appear to be limited to an increase in malignant tumors. At present, it can be shown that cancers of the breast, colon, esophagus, lungs, stomach, thyroid, and urinary tract as well as leukemia and multiple myeloma increase in frequency with an increase in exposure. No significant relationship to radiation can as yet be established for malignant lymphoma, nor cancers of the rectum, pancreas or uterus. Radiation induced malignancies other than leukemia seem to develop proportionally to the natural cancer rate for the attained age. For specific age-at-death intervals, both relative and absolute risks tend to be higher for those of younger age at the time of bombing. Other late effects include radiation-related lenticular opacities, disturbances of growth among those survivors still growing at the time of exposure, and mental retardation and small head sizes among the in utero exposed. Chromosomal abnormalities too are more frequently encountered in the peripheral leukocytes of survivors, and this increase is functionally related to their exposure. Some uncertainty continues to surround both the quantity and quality of the radiation released by these two nuclear devices, particularly the Hiroshima bomb. A recent reassessment suggests that the gamma radiation estimates which have been used in the past may be too low at some distances and the neutron radiation estimates too high at all distances; moreover, the energies of the neutrons released now appear "softer" than previously conjectured. These uncertainties are not sufficiently large, however, to compromise the reality of the increased frequency of malignancy, but make estimates of the dose response, particularly in terms of gamma and neutron exposures, tentative.

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