Thyroid Carcinoma after the Chernobyl Accident: Diagnosis, Treatment and Overtreatment
On the basis of the linear no-threshold theory (LNT), Chernobyl accident (hereafter accident) was predicted to result in a considerable increase in radiation-induced cancer. In fact, there has been no cancer increase proven to be a consequence of the radiation exposure except for thyroid carcinoma in people exposed at a young age [1-3]. Appearance of radiogenic thyroid cancers after the accident is not denied, but their number has been overestimated due to the following mechanisms. Prior to the accident, the registered incidence of pediatric thyroid cancers was lower in the former Soviet Union (SU) than in other developed countries probably due to differences in diagnostic quality and coverage of the population by medical checkups [4,5]. The mass screening in contaminated territories after the accident detected not only small tumors but also advanced neglected cancers accumulated in the population, misclassified after the accident as aggressive radiogenic cancers. Besides, there was a pressure to be registered as Chernobyl victims to get access to benefits and health provisions .