Radiation Exposure and Thyroid Cancer in Healthcare Workers

Healthcare workers are exposed to a variety of occupational hazards, including radiation. Recent studies have suggested that radiation exposure may be linked to an increased risk of thyroid cancer. To better understand the potential risks, researchers have compared equivalent doses with annual dose limits for workers to determine the maximum number of procedures each physician can perform.

In a health check-up study of female participants, 18.9% had thyroid cysts and 8.4% had diffuse parenchymal changes. While certain occupational exposures have been associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer, the results have been inconclusive. The BEIR VII, UNSCEAR, and ICRP risk models evaluate the lifetime attributable risk (LAR) of radiation-induced cancer and fatal cancer as a function of absorbed dose received by the exposed person's organ or tissue.

What Type of Radiation Exposure Causes Thyroid Cancer?

Radiation is widely used in clinical diagnostics and therapy, providing many benefits to patients. However, several studies have indicated that radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons or power plant accidents may increase the risk of thyroid cancer in children. A case-control study of thyroid cancer among Ukrainian Chernobyl cleanup workers reconstructed individual thyroid doses to further investigate this hypothesis.

The EOR for hypothyroidism was higher in rural than in urban residents, suggesting that radiation exposure may be a factor in thyroid problems. Studies have also suggested a correlation between thyroid dose and the relative risk of Graves' disease in atomic bomb survivors (P = 0.1). It is believed that people who have had multiple exposures and those exposed at a younger age are at an even higher risk.

How Can Healthcare Workers Protect Themselves?

Radiation thyroid doses are classified as either instrumental doses, which are estimated using individual-based radiation measurements, or doses, which are estimated using dosimetry badges. Healthcare workers should take steps to protect themselves from radiation exposure by wearing radiation detection badges and following safety protocols.

It is important for healthcare workers to be aware of the potential risks associated with radiation exposure and take steps to protect themselves. By understanding the potential risks and taking appropriate safety measures, healthcare workers can reduce their risk of developing thyroid cancer.

Greta Rulnick
Greta Rulnick

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