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BOOKLET to Provide Basic Information Regarding Health Effects of Radiation (3rd edition)

Recommendations by the IARC Expert Group

Recommendations by the IARC Expert Group_Figure

In April 2017, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an external organization of the World Health Organization (WHO), established an international Expert Group on long-term strategies for thyroid health monitoring after nuclear accidents with the aim of providing scientific information and advice concerning effects of radiation exposure to policy making personnel and medical personnel of individual countries.

The Expert Group's Report on Thyroid Health Monitoring after Nuclear Accidents published in September 2018 compiles the latest knowledge on epidemiology and clinical practice concerning thyroid cancer and provides two recommendations concerning longterm strategies for thyroid health monitoring in the event of a nuclear accident, based on the currently available scientific evidence and on past experiences.

Firstly, the Expert Group recommends against population thyroid screening to actively recruiting all residents of a defined area to participate in thyroid ultrasound examinations.

Secondly, the Expert Group recommends that consideration be given to offering a longterm thyroid monitoring programme for higher-risk individuals who were exposed in utero or during childhood or adolescence with a thyroid dose of 100-500 mGy or more. A thyroid monitoring program here refers to one that is distinct from population screening and is defined as "including education to improve health literacy, registration of participants, centralized data collection from thyroid examinations, and clinical management." Targeted persons may choose how and whether to undergo thyroid examinations in an effort to benefit from early detection and treatment of less advanced disease. The Report also adds as follows: "Some individuals with lower risks may worry about thyroid cancer and may receive thyroid ultrasound examinations for peace of mind. If such individuals with lower risks seek to have an examination after receiving detailed explanations on potential advantages and disadvantages of thyroid ultrasound examinations, they should be provided with opportunities for thyroid ultrasound examinations under the framework of the developed thyroid monitoring programs."

Incidentally, this report does not remark on or evaluate thyroid ultrasound examinations conducted so far after nuclear accidents in the past.

  • Included in this reference material on March 31, 2020
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