Increase in cancer in Sweden can be traced to Chernobyl

May 30, 2007

The incidence of cancer in northern Sweden increased following the accident at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl in 1986. This was the finding of a much-debated study from Linköping University in Sweden from 2004.

Was the increase in cancer caused by the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl or could it be explained by other circumstances? New research from Linköping University provides scientific support for the Chernobyl connection.

“This issue is important because the indicated increased risk may come to influence the prevailing exposure limits for the population. Enhanced knowledge of the risks entailed by radioactive radiation is key to work for radiation safety and makes it possible to prevent diseases,” says Martin Tondel, a physician and researcher in environmental medicine who will soon be defending his doctoral dissertation Malignancies in Sweden after the Chernobyl Accident in 1986.

In two studies using different methods, Martin Tondel has shown a small but statistically significant increase in the incidence of cancer in northern Sweden, where the fallout of radioactive cesium 137 was at its most intense.

The cancer risk increased with rising fallout intensity: up to a 20-percent increase in the highest of six categories. This means that 3.8 percent of the cancer cases up to 1999 can be ascribed to the fallout. This increased risk, in turn, is 26 times higher than the latest risk estimate for the survivors of the atom bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, whose exposure was many times higher.

The increase in Tondel’s studies came a remarkably short time after the disaster, since it is usually assumed that it takes decades for cancer to develop. The dissertation discusses the interpretation of the research findings from the perspective of the theory of science.

The conclusion is that there is scientific support for a connection between the radioactive fallout and the increase in the number of cancer cases.

Source: Linköping University

Explore further: The VW scandal exposes the high tech control of engine emissions

Related Stories

Fallout from nuclear tests leads to health crisis

September 7, 2009

(AP) -- Pius Henry fears his adopted government will kill him, that the United States won't live up to a health care obligation to people from Pacific islands where it tested nuclear bombs.

No drop in Chernobyl cancer risk: US study

March 17, 2011

The risk of thyroid cancer among people who were exposed as children to the nuclear fallout at Chernobyl has not declined nearly 25 years after the disaster, said a study released Thursday in the United States.

Fears of health risks rise amid Japan crisis

March 15, 2011

(AP) -- Fears about health risks rose dramatically in Japan Tuesday with news of a greater radiation release and renewed warnings to remaining residents within 20 miles to stay indoors.

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.