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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the relationship of radiation to cancer occurrence?
In addition to analyzing cancer mortality (deaths due to cancer), RERF analyzes data on cancer incidence obtained through the tumor registries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki prefectures.

Although mortality studies are valuable, the accuracy of cancer diagnoses from death certificates is limited and mortality studies provide little information about the occurrence of cancers with relatively high survival rates.

Among 105,427 members of the Life Span Study cohort whose radiation doses were known, 17,448 first primary solid cancers were diagnosed between 1958 and 1998, about three-quarters with histological verification. Significant radiation associations were observed for oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, colon, lung, breast, ovary, urinary bladder, thyroid, liver, non-melanoma skin, and nervous system cancers. Because factors other than radiation can increase the risk of cancer (such as smoking, certain chemicals, various viral and bacterial agents, and so on), RERF researchers are now examining individual types of cancer more carefully to determine what role radiation plays in the mechanism of cancer causation and how it might interact with these other cancer risk factors.