Skip to main content

Seven More Confirmed Thyroid Cancer Cases: Total of 33 Cancer in Fukushima Children--A Synopsis of Results

Fourteenth Prefectural Oversight Committee convened on February 7, 2014, releasing the results of the latest thyroid examination as part of the prefectural health management survey.

English translation of the results is available here.


A summary of the results is provided below:

Total number of children examined as of December 31, 2013: 269,354

Total number of children whose initial examination results are confirmed: 254,280
(up to the November 15, 2013 examination)
     
     Assessment A1  134,805 (53.0%) (no nodules or cysts found)
     Assessment A2  117,679 (46.3%) (nodules 5.0 mm or smaller or cysts 20.0 mm or smaller)
     Assessment B     1,795 (0.7%) (nodules 5.1 mm or larger or cysts 20.1 mm or larger)
     Assessment C         1 (0.0%) (requiring immediate secondary examination)


Initial examination progress status



Number and proportion of nodules and cysts





Secondary examination includes more detailed thyroid ultrasound, blood and urine tests, and fine-needle aspiration biopsy if warranted.

      1,796 are eligible for secondary examination
      1,490 have actually undergone secondary examination
      1,342 finished the secondary examination

Secondary examination progress status




Summary of fine-needle aspiration biopsy results (as of December 31, 2013)






In summary, there were 7 more cancer cases confirmed since the last report on November 12, 2013. One case was confirmed in a female from Namie Town, 5 in Koriyama City, and 1 in Izumizaki Village. 

The total number of cases confirmed or suspected of cancer is 75. Of these, 34 had surgeries as of December 31, 2013, and 1 turned out to be a benign nodule, 32 were confirmed to be papillary thyroid cancer, and 1 still has no confirmed cytological diagnosis but listed as poorly differentiated thyroid cancer. (The total number of cases confirmed or suspected of cancer is often reported as 74 in news report, excluding the case confirmed to be benign).

Shinichi Suzuki, a Fukushima Medical University physician in charge of the thyroid ultrasound examination, cautioned against jumping to the conclusion about this "poorly differentiated cancer" which normally is associated with a poor prognosis. Although he did not elaborate on details, he said the diagnostic criteria for poorly differentiated thyroid cancer have recently changed. This was the case which, initially thought of as papillary thyroid cancer, was undergoing cytological reevaluation by pathologists who are still not sure about the exact subtype. 

Interestingly, the first thing Suzuki mentioned, when it was his turn to present the thyroid examination results at the committee meeting, was the news post published today in multiple newspapers regarding the Fukushima Medical University beginning a genetic analysis of the cancer tissues. The news post states that Fukushima Medical University will use the thyroid cancer tissues, excised during surgeries, to analyze for genetic alterations to help figure out why the cancer originated. What was odd was that Suzuki, as if avoiding a swarm of questions, offered an explanation that such genetic analyses are routinely performed on adult cancer specimen using the special research money and approved by the University's ethics committee. He emphasized that the genetic analysis was totally separate from the thyroid ultrasound examination. He asked for an understanding as he felt it was the mission of Fukushima Medical University to conduct the genetic analysis in order to watch over the children's future.

As for the perceived "slow" speed of confirming the cancer cases, Suzuki said that some of the cases suspected of cancer did not warrant immediate surgeries, allowing for the children to live their lives with close monitoring. 

As usual, no information was offered such as the type of nodules and also details of each surgical case which, as part of regular medical care, are considered beyond the scope of the screening and thus inaccessible to the Health Management Survey team.

*****
Below is a reference table showing the 2008 thyroid cancer incidence rate per 100,000 in Japan, compiled from the National Cancer Center (2012) Cancer incidence from cancer registries in Japan (1975–2007) on the website of Center for Cancer Control and Information Services, National Cancer Center, Japan. Due to an intense interest, domestically and internationally, in the pediatric thyroid cancer occurrence in Japan, the tables focused on the relevant age groups.

Thyroid cancer incidence rate in Japan by age and sex (2008) (per 100,000)
SourceDownload “2. Incidence (National estimates)” and go to the “rate” tab on bottom. 
See lines #1775 for male and #1809 for female.



This shows “incidence,” representing the rate of occurrence of new cases in a given period. On the other hand, Fukushima thyroid examination is mass screening, which yields “prevalence,” the proportion of the total number of cases to the total population.



It is important to note that incidence and prevalence are not directly comparable, so the incidence rates shown above are only a relative measure of comparison.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Fukushima Thyroid Examination May 2015: 103 Thyroid Cancer Cases Confirmed, 5 in the Second Round Screening

The Nineteenth Prefectural Oversight Committee for Fukushima Health Management Survey convened in Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture, on May 18, 2015, releasing the latest results of thyroid examination, consisting of Initial Screening or the first round screening (originally scheduled to be conducted from October 2011 to March 2014, but actually still ongoing) and Full-Scale Screening or the second round screening (beginning April 2014). It has been 3 months since the last committee meeting on February 12, 2015, and the latest results include 3 more months worth of data confirmed as of March 31, 2015.

An official English translation of the results is now available here.

As of March 31, 2015, there are 16 more (12 from the first round and 4 from the second round) confirmed cancer cases, all papillary thyroid cancer, and 9 more (2 from the first round and 7 from the second round) newly suspicious cases. The number of confirmed cancer cases now totals 103 (98 from the first round and 5…

Translation of a News Article: "Thyroid Cancer--A Few Percent Recurred After Surgeries"

On September 27, 2016, an article titled "Thyroid Cancer: A Few % Recurred After Surgeries" appeared on the website of NHK Fukushima Station. The URL shows an error message because the article is no longer shown online due to a short posting time on local station websites: newer articles push older ones off the slot, and this article, posted at 1:05 pm likely was pushed off the website as the evening news articles rolled in. NHK does not maintain archives of its articles on their website. Luckily, the article was archived here. English translation is provided below, and more detailed information on the surgical cases is available in this post.

*****

Thyroid Cancer: A Few Percent Recurred After Surgeries

A physician who has been conducting surgeries on children diagnosed with thyroid cancer revealed for the first time that there has been a few percent of the cases recurred after surgery. These cancer cases were diagnosed during the Thyroid Examination conducted by Fukushima Pre…

"Strict" Management of the Fukushima Health Management Survey Data by Fukushima Medical University

The Interim Report released in March 2016 by the Oversight Committee for Fukushima Health Management Survey called for the need to establish the rules of management and provision of the data so it can be widely utilized by domestic and international experts. Accordingly, the Subcommittee to Review Provision of Data for the Purpose of Academic Research met in Fukushima City, Fukushima, for the first time on May 31, 2016. Subcommittee members were selected by the Fukushima prefectural government in order to address the role of the subcommittee in establishing technical rules in provision of data and include specialists in epidemiology, information technology, law, and legal sociology. Also included are members of the Oversight Committee for Fukushima Health Management Survey, Shoichiro Tsugane and Hokuto Hoshi, and the Health Survey Support Department Head and the Department of Epidemiology Chair at Fukushima Medical University, Tetsuya Ohira, representing the Fukushima Health Managemen…