[ RadSafe ] The Latest on Japanese Child Thyroid Cancer

Roger Helbig rwhelbig at gmail.com
Sat Sep 10 04:25:08 CDT 2016

Bet they make vfery good money out of this!

A group comprising medical and legal experts announced Friday it has
launched a fund to provide financial support to children who were
diagnosed with thyroid cancer after the 2011 nuclear meltdowns in
Fukushima Prefecture.

The group, named 3/11 Children’s Fund for Thyroid Cancer, will start
accepting donations from Sept. 20, aiming to raise at least ¥20
million. The amount could provide at least ¥50,000 each for 200 to 400
people, it said.

Donated funds will be used primarily to cover medical expenses for
thyroid cancer patients in Fukushima and neighboring prefectures, it
said. The group will announce more details in November on the criteria
that will be used to determine who is eligible to receive the aid
before it starts accepting applications.

“They are struggling to pay medical bills,” Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer
and one of the founding members of the group, said at a news
conference in Tokyo. “I don’t think ¥50,000 will be enough for them,
but they are impoverished and are struggling, and even that amount
will be of help.”

Currently, the medical expenses of children diagnosed with thyroid
cancer in Fukushima Prefecture are covered by the prefectural

Patients, however, have to initially pay their medical expenses out of
pocket until they start receiving refunds from the prefecture, placing
great financial strain on many families, another member of the group

In addition to that, some parents often have to take leave from work
to accompany their children during hospital visits, which also
includes paying for travel expenses, they said.

According to the group, although medical treatment for thyroid cancer
is covered by public health insurance, the patients still have to pay
about ¥10,000 per examination and roughly ¥150,000 for surgical
procedures. And if patients have to undergo endoscopic surgery, it
would cost them an additional ¥300,000, it said.

Since October 2011, the Fukushima government has conducted thyroid
screenings for some 380,000 children who were aged 18 or younger.

By the end of March, a total of 173 children were diagnosed with
suspected thyroid cancer. Of those, 131 were confirmed to have the
cancer after undergoing surgery.

A panel of experts under the prefectural government said in an interim
report released in March that those thyroid cancer cases were unlikely
to be radiation-induced.

The panel said the amount of radiation released was lower than in the
1986 Chernobyl accident, where more than 6,000 children were diagnosed
with the cancer by 2005, and noted that no cancer was found among
children aged under 5 at the time of the disaster who are more
vulnerable to radiation exposure.


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