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Entries in NCI (2)

Thursday
Mar172011

Higher Cancer Risk Continues After Chernobyl

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(BETHESDA, Md.) --  A new study from the National Institutes of Health finds the risk of thyroid cancer for those exposed to the fallout of Chernobyl has not yet to decline.

Nearly 25 years after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, exposure to radioactive iodine-131(I-131, a radioactive isotope) from fallout may be responsible for thyroid cancers that are still occurring among people who lived in the Chernobyl area and were children or adolescents at the time of the accident, researchers say.

An international team of researchers led by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health found a clear dose-response relationship, in which higher absorption of radiation from I-131 led to an increased risk for thyroid cancer that has not seemed to diminish over time.

The study, which represents the first prospective examination of thyroid cancer risk in relation to the I-131 doses received by Chernobyl-area children and adolescents, appeared March 17, 2011, in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

"This study is different from previous Chernobyl efforts in a number of important ways. First, we based radiation doses from I-131 on measurements of radioactivity in each individual's thyroid within two months of the accident," explained study author Alina Brenner, M.D., Ph.D., from NCI's Radiation Epidemiology Branch.  "Second, we identified thyroid cancers using standardized examination methods. Everyone in the cohort was screened, irrespective of dose."

The study included over 12,500 participants who were under 18 years of age at the time of the Chernobyl accident on April 26, 1986, and lived in one of three Ukrainian oblasts, or provinces, near the accident site: Chernigov, Zhytomyr, and Kiev.  Thyroid radioactivity levels were measured for each participant within two months of the accident, and were used to estimate each individual's I-131 dose.  The participants were screened for thyroid cancer up to four times over 10 years, with the first screening occurring 12 to 14 years after the accident.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan132011

Cancer Costs Predicted to Skyrocket by 2012

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BETHESDA, Md.) -- Karin Gaines of Rockford, Ill., is battling breast cancer for the second time in her life. She's taking two different medications to treat her disease, which also has spread to her bones.

In addition to the physical and mental toll her disease takes on her, it's also very difficult for her financially. Though she says she's fortunate to have COBRA insurance, her out-of-pocket costs are steep.

"COBRA is really expensive, and I still have out-of-pocket costs at the beginning of the year. Plus, every time I go in for a test or to see the doctor, there's a $30 co-pay," said Gaines, who is 56. "Last year, my out-of-pocket cost was $10,000."

Gaines knows she isn't alone, that there are many other cancer patients who are uninsured and have to foot enormous bills on their own.

Those costs, according to a new study by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), are expected to soar to $158 billion by the year 2020.

Researchers led by Angela Mariotto, a statistician in the NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences in Bethesda, Md. analyzed available data on the number of new cancer cases, survival rates after diagnosis and costs of care, and projected a staggering 27 percent increase in the cost of cancer care over the next decade.

The most expensive cancers are breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lymphoma, lung cancer and prostate cancer.

"This number is a bit higher than we expected," said Mariotto.

She said the data are estimates that assume the number of new cancer cases remains the same over time, treatment-related costs remain the same and the population ages at the rate projected by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The NCI study also estimated that if costs in the early and late stages of cancer treatment rise by two percent a year, which is consistent with current trends, the projected cost of cancer could be as high as $173 billion a year.

Experts said the increase has a number of causes, including increased cancer survival, a growing number of older Americans, treatment advances and the desire to offer and receive the best and most care.

One of the main reasons for the skyrocketing cancer price tag is the growing number of Americans who are getting older.

"Cancer is a disease that affects more older people than younger, so the burden will be greater in 2020 than it is today," said Mariotto.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio