Introduction of a method to calculate cumulative age- And gender-specific lifetime attributable risk (LAR) of cancer in populations after a large-scale nuclear power plant accident

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The effect of age and gender in risk estimates related to long-term residence in areas contaminated by nuclear power plant fallout was evaluated by applying the lifetime attributable risk (LAR) concept to an existing exposure model that was previously used for cumulative effective dose estimates. In this study, we investigated the influence of age distribution on the number of cancer cases by applying five different age distributions from nuclear power-producing countries (India, Japan, South Korea, and the United States), and Egypt because of intentions to develop nuclear power. The model was also used to estimate the effective dose and gender-specific LAR as a function of time after fallout for the offspring of the population living in 137Cs fallout areas. The principal findings of this study are that the LAR of cancer incidence (excluding non-fatal skin cancers) over 70 y is about 4.5 times higher for newborn females (5.4% per MBq m-2 of initial 137Cs ground deposition) than the corresponding values for 30 y old women (1.2% per MBq m-2 137Cs deposition). The cumulative LAR for newborn males is more than 3 times higher (3.2% versus 1.0% per MBq m-2 137Cs deposition). The model predicts a generally higher LAR for women until 50 y of age, after which the gender difference converges. Furthermore, the detriment for newborns in the fallout areas initially decreases rapidly (about threefold during the first decade) and then decreases gradually with an approximate half-time of 10-12 y after the first decade. The age distribution of the exposed cohort has a decisive impact on the average risk estimates, and in our model, these are up to about 65% higher in countries with high birth rates compared to low birth rates. This trend implies larger average lifetime attributable risks in countries with a highly proportional younger population. In conclusion, the large dispersion (up to a factor of 4 between newborns and 30 y olds) in the lifetime detriment per unit ground deposition of 137Cs over gender and age in connection with accidental nuclear releases justifies the effort in developing risk models that account for the higher radiation sensitivity in younger populations.


External organisations
  • Sahlgrenska Academy
  • Uppsala University Hospital
  • Uppsala University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Probability Theory and Statistics
  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0228549
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch