[ RadSafe ] Radiation Exposure: Does it Always Cause Cancer?

George J. Vargo vargo at physicist.net
Fri Aug 4 15:17:52 CDT 2006

Seen at:  http://www.ivanhoe.com/channels/p_printStory.cfm?storyid=14249

George J. Vargo, Ph.D., CHP
Senior Scientist
MJW Corporation, Inc.
610-925-5545 (fax)
vargo at physicist.net
Reported August 2, 2006 
Radiation Exposure: Does it Always Cause Cancer?
By Vivian Richardson, Ivanhoe Health Correspondent

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- The survivors of the atomic bomb blasts
in Japan during World War II all developed cancer, right?

No. Many did, and suffered terribly, but the fact that a large number of the
survivors have not yet developed cancer is just one part of the mystery
around radiation exposure and cancer.

"I think there is no doubt that radiation is, in fact, carcinogenic," said
Herman Suit, M.D., Ph.D., Sc.D., a radiation oncologist from Harvard
University, today at the 48th Annual Meeting of The American Association of
Physicists in Medicine in Orlando, Florida.

Scientists following 86,611 survivors of the 1945 atomic bomb blasts found
only 4.7 percent of the 10,127 cancer deaths could be clearly attributed to
radiation exposure, said Dr. Suit. These deaths didn't happen right away --
35 percent of the radiation cancer deaths occurred between 42 years and 52
years after the explosions.

"These cancer deaths keep occurring," said Dr. Suit. This reinforces the
need to very carefully study how cancer patients today are affected by the
radiation used to treat their cancers, especially in light of higher
survival rates and life expectancies of these patients.

One of the most perplexing aspects of this area of study is how big a role
genetics seem to play. Dr. Suit explained many studies show that cancer
occurrence increases with increased cancer exposure. In several mouse
studies, however, the rate at which the cancer risk increased varied widely
between different genetic strains of mice. Also, certain types of cancer
seem to be more likely to be caused by radiation exposure than others. He
reported that data from 14 studies show an increased risk for cancers of the
stomach and pancreas while there was no evident increased risk of bladder or
rectal cancer.

"It appears we have made some inroads, but not enough," said Dr. Suit. What
scientists need to know now is the genetic characteristics of specific
patients and how those genes react when exposed to radiation.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by
e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to:

SOURCE: Vivian Richardson at the 48th Annual Meeting of The American
Association of Physicists in Medicine in Orlando, Fla., July 30-August 3,

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