Chernobyl Fallout Exposure and Prostate Cancer

July 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer

Many people want to know whether the Chernobyl fallout causes prostate cancer or not; others want to find out if Chernobyls radiation has effects on prostate cancer or not. This article looks into the subject of Chernobyl and tries to show it’s relationship or not with prostate cancer.

Chernobyl is the site of the nuclear power plant disaster of 1986, where the plume of radioactive debris was produced that drifted through the whole of Western USSR and Eastern Europe. Finland was the first nation to detect abnormally high levels of radiation after the catastrophic Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Soviet Union, setting off another string of important domestic consequences. In 1994, National Geographic explored the further effects and aftermath of the Chernobyl debacle from an environmental viewpoint; but from a biological viewpoint, the situation is just as deadly. When ionizing radiation strikes living tissue and damages the molecules of cellular matter, cellular function may be impaired to say the least, or the cell may be destroyed.

No one else in the world received greater doses of that radiation than the first of the Chernobyl cleanup army that may have been as many as 750,000 workers. They were the liquidators; some of them got a lot more than 200 rem of radioactivity, which is believed to be more than enough to cause acute radiation sickness and a breakdown of body systems, characterized by nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, most people at the time were more concerned about the catastrophic decline in living standards that was sure to ensue. And it did too; up to 20 percent of the population in the region now lives below the poverty level, with unemployment growing and healthcare deteriorating. With an added lowered resistance to disease, life expectancy had dropped by 2007 to 62.2 years; by 2007, ecological disasters and epidemics ravaging them all the time.

Strangely, it has been difficult to measure the effects of the tragedy on public health because it is not always clear which are caused directly by radiation, by poor nutrition, low health level, and anxiety and stress over the fear of radiation exposure. But the higher death rates are there, especially for the more than half million workers that participated in the Chernobyl’ cleanup, while doctors openly declare that all survivors are in direct increased risk of cancer. For certain, not less than one type of cancer ? thyroid cancer ? can be attributed directly to the Chernobyl’ incident, because of the significant rise in the incidence of the disease among children in the surrounding regions in which the radiation levels are highest.

But, did the Chernobyl fallout really cause a higher incidence of prostate cancer in the region? At this time, there is very little evidence to even suggest that. Certainly, researchers are still looking into the reality and the possibility of it, but nothing is conclusive, especially with the risk factors of prostate cancer specifically being more in line with age, genetics, race, diet, lifestyle, medications, and other factors, and with the condition being a lot more common in the developed countries of the industrial West. No reason to go sunbathing in the region, though.

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